Understanding how to protect your home from earthquakes

By David Jacobson, Temblor

Interested in retrofitting or earthquake insurance? (Click Here)

In Napa, the California Earthquake Authority (CEA) conducted aimed at assessing damage and homeowner knowledge of how to mitigate earthquake damage. (Photo from napavalley.com)


In California, most people know they live in earthquake country. The state has seen its share of large earthquakes. In 1994, the M=6.7 Northridge earthquake shook the greater Los Angeles area and caused billions of dollars worth of damage. Five years earlier, in 1989, the M=6.9 Loma Prieta Earthquake rocked the Bay Area, famously disrupting the World Series. Despite these earthquakes, most Californians lack an understanding of how to properly protect themselves from the hazards earthquakes pose.

The 2014 M=6.0 South Napa earthquake, caused millions of dollars worth of damage. This photo shows a cracked road caused by the severe shaking. (Photo from Napa Valley Register)


At a research forum hosted by the California Earthquake Authority (CEA) in Sacramento yesterday, results from the CEA-sponsored “South Napa Single-Family Home Impact Study” were presented by Sharyl Rabinovici, Ph.D. Following the 2014 M=6.0 South Napa earthquake, the CEA investigated how homes performed and how much residents knew about their property.

Damage to residential areas was extensive in the 2014 M=6.0 South Napa earthquake. In a study by the California Earthquake Authority, they found that many homeowners were unaware of ways in which they could protect themselves from earthquake damage. (Photo from FEMA)


In the first phase of the project, an online survey was conducted to assess damage. The second phase involved sending professionals out to inspect houses and to interview homeowners. Initial findings showed that damage was widespread, and that few houses were seismically retrofitted . The second phase shed more light on how Napa residents view earthquakes and how they can protect themselves.

The study showed that even though most residents understand the hazards posed by earthquakes, very few either take action or understand how they can protect themselves. Additionally, approximately one-third of homeowners did not know if their house had been retrofitted. Lastly, while most residents knew about and were interested in earthquake insurance, they were often not aware of options available.

What this information shows is that there must be a greater level of communication to help homeowners make smart decisions. We at Temblor hope to aid in this process. Earthquake insurance options and what it means to seismically retrofit your home should be mitigation strategies that everyone in earthquake country understands. If you are interested in learning more about earthquake insurance, click here . To learn more about what it means to seismically retrofit a home, click here . Lastly, the presentation of these findings comes at an extremely opportune time, as until February 27, California residents may be eligible for a $3,000 grant to seismically retrofit their homes. Click here if you would like help determining if you are eligible. All of this information is aimed at making sure that residents in earthquake country can prepare themselves.


Interested in retrofitting or earthquake insurance? (Click Here)


California Earthquake Authority (CEA) study Link
Insurance Journal


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Californians eligible for $3,000 grant to seismically retrofit their homes