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July 5, 2020
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FEMA grants $1.2M to CEA to increase earthquake protection

December 20, 2019

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has granted $1.2 million to the California Earthquake Authority (CEA) for its Earthquake Brace + Bolt (EBB) program. The grant will subsidize CEA earthquake retrofits for 391 at-risk structures likely to shake from their foundations in the event of an earthquake.

EBB addresses two seismic vulnerabilities found in many older homes that may have short, wood-framed cripple walls under the first floor. The retrofit bolts the house to the foundation, and if short, wood-framed walls are present under the first floor, the retrofit braces those walls with plywood to stiffen and help prevent the house from collapsing or sliding off its foundation during a quake.

EBB is a code-compliant retrofit that helps reduce damage and should allow families to remain in their homes after earthquakes. Each EBB recipient receives a subsidy of up to $3,000 to bring their home up to seismic code compliance.

The $2.1 million project will be funded by a $1.2 million hazard mitigation grant from FEMA, with CEA and homeowners contributing the $940,000 balance.

FEMA’s Hazard Mitigation Grant Program helps states, territories, federally recognized tribes, local communities and certain private, non-profit organizations become more resilient to potential infrastructure damage and reduce future disaster costs. In the past 30 years, FEMA has invested nearly $1.3 billion to reduce disaster risks in California.