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Burbank homeowners are eligible for seismic-retrofitting grants

Burbank building officials are encouraging local homeowners to be more proactive when it comes to earthquake safety.

Through Nov. 13, Burbank residents who own single-family homes can apply through the Earthquake Brace and Bolt grant program to receive up to $3,000 in state funding to help them pay for seismic retrofitting of their property.

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The grant is issued by the California Residential Mitigation Program, a joint-powers authority created by the California Earthquake Authority.

It is the first time that Burbank has been selected to be included in the statewide grant program since its launch in 2013.

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State earthquake officials are offering 2,000 grants to qualifying homeowners, which is something Ron Takiguchi, the planning official for Burbank, said residents should take advantage of before a major earthquake hits.

He said seismic-retrofitting projects can cost a homeowner between $3,000 and $7,000, which is much cheaper than making repairs to a house that has been damaged in a quake.

“It could potentially cost a homeowner hundreds of thousands of dollars if they have to repair their home in an event of an earthquake,” Takiguchi said. “So the retrofitting could prevent that initial damage and prevent any further costs. It’s a good way of strengthening someone’s home.”

A house needs to meet several criteria before qualifying for a state grant. It has to have a wood frame, have been built before 1980 and have a 4-foot-tall or shorter cripple wall under the first floor.

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Cripple walls are short wood-stud walls that enclose a crawl space under a home’s first floor.

Additionally, the house has to be built on a level or low slope, as well as have a raised foundation, according to the grant requirements.

The retrofitting, Takiguchi said, involves adding anchor bolts and sill plates to the concrete foundation, as well as reinforcing the cripple walls.

Because the last major earthquake to hit the region was the 1994 Northridge quake, Takiguchi said most people are not as proactive as they should be about ensuring their property can withstand a similar or even worse event.

For those looking to remodel their home, Takiguchi said it would be wise to consider a seismic retrofit if the project is extensive.

If a homeowner isn’t doing any construction or remodeling, he said it’s still a good idea to hire a state-approved contractor to inspect their home and see if any retrofitting should be done.

“This is one of the best things that a homeowner can do for their home,” Takiguchi said.

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For more information, visit https://bit.ly/2yJlmtM.

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