Assemblymember Nazarian Champions Earthquake Preparedness in California

Earthquake Early Warning System, Seismic Retrofit Loans, & Brace + Bolt Expansion will Protect Property, Save Lives, and Creates Jobs

(Sherman Oaks, CA) The California Legislature passed a landmark budget that prioritizes earthquake preparedness.

“It is not a question of if, but when, an earthquake strikes.  We must take immediate steps to protect property and save lives,” stated Assemblymember Adrin Nazarian. “We need to expand our residential Brace + Bolt program, incentivize property owners to seismically retrofit their large apartment buildings, and fully fund a state-of-the-art earthquake early warning system this year.”

United States Geological Survey seismologists predict a major temblor is likely to strike California within the next 30 years, causing serious damage to millions of homes and residential structures.

The 2016-2017 Budget included several key components of Assemblymember Nazarian’s Earthquake Preparedness Package:

  • $10 Million for an Earthquake Early Warning System
  • $10 Million for Seismic Safety Revolving Loan Program
  • $3 Million to Expand the Brace + Bolt program

$10 Million for an Earthquake Early Warning System

The early warning system is currently a prototype that would require $23 million to build out the infrastructure and $12 million annually to fund the early warning system.  Once fully funded, the early warning system can be operational in under two-years.

“Every second matters in an earthquake.  An early warning system gives people time to duck and cover, slows our trains and subways, opens elevator doors, and shuts down gas lines,” stated Assemblymember Nazarian.  “Let’s get this done.”

$10 Million Seismic Safety Revolving Loan Program

“We need to act decisively now to protect our State from senseless and preventable loss of life and property,” stated Assemblymember Nazarian.  “Providing low-cost, innovating financing for property owners incentivizes them to protect their property.”

The proposal would expand the California Capital Access Program (CalCAP) to include Seismic retrofits.  Currently, the CalCAP program encourages banks and other financial institutions to make loans to small businesses that fall outside of most banks’ conventional underwriting standards.  By expanding the program to include seismic retrofitting, property owners will have easier access to finance life and property-protecting seismic upgrades.

Recent findings by UC Berkley researchers identify 1,500 concrete buildings that are seismically vulnerable in the Los Angeles area alone. The researchers state that in the event of a huge earthquake 75 are likely to collapse.

$3 Million for Brace + Bolt

The Brace + Bolt Expansion is a program offered through the California Earthquake Authority that provides $3,000 to assist homeowners in decreasing the potential for damage to their houses during an earthquake. A residential seismic retrofit strengthens an existing house, making it more resistant to earthquake activity, such as ground shaking and soil failure, by bolting the house to its foundation and adding bracing around the perimeter of the crawl space.

Together, Assemblymember Nazarian and Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones successfully expanded the program in last year’s budget to over 1,000 additional homes across 100 new zip codes.

The mitigation program provides homeowners up to $3,000 to strengthen their foundation. A typical retrofit may cost between $2,000 and $10,000 depending on the location, the size of the house, and the amount of work involved. Houses that meet the state building code retrofit criteria typically were:

  • Constructed before 1979;
  • Built on a level or low slope site;
  • Constructed with a four-foot (or less) cripple wall under the first floor;
  • And have a raised foundation.

Adrin Nazarian represents the 46th Assembly District, serving the San Fernando Valley communities of Hollywood Hills, Lake Balboa, North Hills, North Hollywood, Panorama City, Sherman Oaks, Studio City, Toluca Lake, Valley Glen, Universal City, Van Nuys, and Valley Village.