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California grant program aims to protect at-risk houses from earthquakes

Earthquake Brace and Bolt Program (California Earthquake Authority)
Earthquake Brace and Bolt Program (California Earthquake Authority)
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Californians living in specific zip codes can now apply for a state grant to brace their homes for earthquakes.

The California Earthquake Authority's Brace and Bolt Program offers a grant of up to $3,000 toward seismic retrofit for qualifying older houses.

North Coast cities, including Eureka, Arcata, Ferndale and Fortuna, are just a few of the 521 zip codes throughout California where homes may be eligible for the grant.

"We estimate that there are over $1.2 million houses that need this Brace and Bolt retrofit in areas of high seismicity throughout California, which includes pretty much the entire coastline," California Earthquake Authority Chief Mitigation Officer Janiele Maffei said.

Most California houses built after 1980 are bolted due to updated building codes, but various earthquakes have proven dangerous to older homes.

"We saw houses that came off their foundation in the 2014 Napa earthquake," Maffei said.

The North Coast -- and Eureka in particular -- is home to several older Victorian-era houses, such as the Carson Mansion and the Pinc Lady, which is one of the reasons the state is targeting the area as a high-risk zone.

"[There are] beautiful, beautiful, historic homes up in that area that we want to protect," Maffei said.

The other concern for the North Coast is its location in the center of various faults.

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"The San Andreas Fault comes to an end just north of Eureka, and there starts an even more damaging fault system, which is the Cascadia Subduction Zone," Maffei said.

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