OAKLAND, Calif. – The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has released an additional $2.7 million installment to the California Earthquake Authority (CEA) for its Earthquake Brace + Bolt (EBB) program. The grant will subsidize a project of the California Residential Mitigation Program, a joint powers authority of the California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services and the CEA, for earthquake retrofits on 532 at-risk homes 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 reinforce and help prevent the house from collapsing or sliding off its foundation during a quake.
EBB is a code-compliant retrofit that lessens the potential for damage and may allow families to remain in their homes after earthquakes. Each EBB recipient receives a grant of up to $3,000 to bring their home up to seismic code compliance.
FEMA’s $2.7 million release from its Hazard Mitigation Grant Program (HMGP), in combination with the applicant’s $1.6 million, marks the latest installment of the $33.3 million project. The remaining $11.7 million will be released incrementally throughout the life of the grant, as applications are approved, to retrofit a total of 6,667 homes.
FEMA’s HMGP 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. Over the past 30 years, FEMA has invested more than $1.4 billion to reduce disaster risk in California.