Earthquake retrofit program helping SoCal homeowners

LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- Retrofitting your home before the next earthquake may be easier than you think. The state is providing assistance to those who qualify through the Brace and Bolt program.

Last August, a 6.0-magnitude earthquake rattled the Napa area of Northern California. The damage was most severe to older homes that shook right off their foundations.

If you own a home built before 1979, it can be at major risk in earthquake country - unless the house was bolted to the foundation. You may qualify for a solution to that problem.

Mark Reback of Highland Park was lucky enough that his 1913 Craftsman home was chosen for a pilot program through the California Earthquake Authority. The program helped pay for an earthquake bolt retrofit of his home's foundation in the amount of $3,000.

"They fixed the concrete and the foundation and added some wood bracing and the bolt bracing," Reback said. "Just basically the whole retrofitting of the base of the house."

As of Jan. 1, the California Residential Mitigation Program is a standard program available to many homeowners. One way the California Earthquake Authority is getting the word out on their bolt program is through fliers they may leave on your door. If you get one hanging on your doorknob, don't throw it away - it could be worth up to $3,000.

"We're going out to six cities, 26 zip codes, letting them know that we have a selection process. We like them to go online to the website, see if their house qualifies, throw their name into the hat," said Janiele Maffei with the California Earthquake Authority.

There are a few requirements to qualify. You must live in a certain zip code area, the home must have been built before 1979, the crawl space under the house must be less than 4 feet and the home needs to have a wooden sub-floor. Get more information by visiting www.earthquakebracebolt.com.

"Earthquakes are a part of life here, and we feel more secure knowing our home was more secure," Reback said.

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