The ongoing pandemic has taught us to appreciate more than ever the roof over our heads as we spend time indoors, waiting our turn for the anxiously anticipated COVID-19 vaccine.
In the same way many Americans are vulnerable to COVID-19, many of their older homes are vulnerable to earthquakes, which can occur anywhere in the Golden State.
Some of these older homes, especially those built before 1980, are more susceptible to earthquake damage because they were constructed before modern seismic building codes were put in place. With a 99 percent chance of at least one major earthquake striking California in the next 30 years, there has never been a better time to take action to strengthen your home against earthquake damage.
As renowned seismologist Lucy Jones once said on CNN, “The earthquake is inevitable, but the disaster is not. The disaster is what the earthquake does to human structures. We change those human structures, we can eliminate the disaster.”
For many homeowners, the value of their property and the equity they have in it represent the lion’s share of their savings and retirement nest egg. A simple, relatively inexpensive seismic retrofit can significantly reduce the chances of an older home falling completely off its foundation – perhaps resulting in a total loss – even in a moderate earthquake.
One of the key self-help elements in strengthening your home is seismic retrofitting, a process which can be straightforward and often not as expensive as homeowners might think. Depending on the type of retrofit needed, the work can usually be done in a couple of days, with costs ranging from $3,000 to $7,000. And importantly, during this time of social distancing during the pandemic, homeowners can remain inside their dwelling as workers do the job without entering the residence.
Compared to the potential cost of repairing an earthquake damaged home, spending a smaller amount of money to help prevent damage will be more beneficial than facing a much bigger repair bill after an earthquake. Whatever the cost, it is a relatively small price to pay to protect the value of your home and, more importantly, make it safer for your family.
The pandemic has forced all of us to become more personally, emotionally and psychologically resilient. Resilience is defined as being strong and not easily damaged by being hit or stretched. Think of seismic retrofitting as something you can do to make your home more resilient as well.
One organization at the forefront in raising awareness of the importance of seismic retrofitting homes is California Residential Mitigation Program. Its website www.strengthenmyhouse.com has a myriad of resources to assist and incentivize homeowners in the Golden State, who wish to retrofit their houses to mitigate against earthquake damage. On the website, you can find your house type or hazard to learn more about your home’s vulnerability to an earthquake. CRMP, which was formed in 2011, is an entity composed of the California Earthquake Authority and the California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services.
It is not a matter of if, but when the next big one will strike. So why not be better prepared and invest in your future? Take the path of most resilience by strengthening your home against earthquake damage today!
Glenn Pomeroy is the chief executive officer of California Earthquake Authority. Under Pomeroy’s leadership, CEA has developed innovative programs and grants to seismically retrofit more than 13,000 older homes in higher-risk areas of California.