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Securing Your Home

March 13, 1994|CAROL TICE

There are a great number of publications and videos available to help homeowners learn more about how to retrofit their foundations. Many were created after the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake. Here's a selection of publications and videos of particular interest to homeowner:


"Earthquake Safe: A Hazard Reduction Manual for Homes" by David Benaroya Helfant (Builders Booksource, 1817 4th St., Berkeley, Calif. 94710; (510) 845-6874). Written by an engineer, this 56-page book is packed with details and diagrams on foundation retrofitting. Available for $9.44 including shipping and tax.

"The Homeowner's Guide to Earthquake Safety" by the California Seismic Safety Commission. This large-format booklet provides homeowners with simple information about the questions they need to answer when selling their pre-1960 home, and remedies to strengthen their foundation. Also lists many other publications. $6.81 from the California Assn. of Realtors, 525 S. Virgil Ave., L.A. 90020 (213) 739-8200.

"Introduction to Earthquake Retrofitting" by the Builder Education Center (812 Page St., Berkeley, Calif. 94710; (510) 525-7610). An 80-page guide to the tools and techniques needed for basic retrofitting project, illustrated with 60 photos. Very do-it-yourselfer oriented. $13.77 including tax, shipping.

"Peace of Mind in Earthquake Country" by Peter I. Yanev (Chronicle Books, 275 5th St., San Francisco, Calif. 94103; (415) 777-7240). This book provides such a thorough education on earthquakes' causes and effects that it doesn't even get to retrofitting until Chapter 7. With recent interest, this 218 page-book should be available at local bookstores. It's list-priced at $14.95.

"Strengthening Wood Frame Houses for Earthquake Safety" by the Bay Area Regional Earthquake Preparedness Project. This 32-page booklet includes photos, diagrams and estimates of what each job should cost the homeowner. Available for $6 total from the Assn. of Bay Area Governments, P.O. Box 2050, Oakland, Calif. 94604; (510) 464-7900.


All these videos are roughly a half-hour, and all provide good information--but they all make it look easy by demonstrating the work in enormous, basement-like areas. Be warned that your home is probably much more cramped underneath. Also, all three were produced in the Bay Area, so remember code specifications for your house may be slightly different.

"An Ounce of Prevention: Strengthening Your Wood Frame House for Earthquake Safety" by the Bay Area Earthquake Preparedness Project. Allan Lindh of the U.S. Geological survey hosts this show, which features a thorough seismic survey section and good step-by-step instructions. Comes with 12-page checklist of tools and materials. It's $16.09 total from the Assn. of Bay Area Governments, P.O. Box 2050, Oakland, Calif. 94604; (510) 464-7900.

"Bolt It Down: The Homeowners Guide to Earthquake Protection." Put together by the International Conference of Building Officials and the Los Angeles County Department of Public Works. A Seismic Safety Commission official takes you through the basic foundation retrofitting steps. Comes with a 40-page information booklet; $10.50 plus tax (includes shipping and handling). Order by calling (310) 692-4226.

"Earthquake: Home Safe Home." Funded by sympathetic Japanese Rotarians after the Loma Prieta earthquake, and produced by TV station KCSM. In this tape Tony DeMascole of the Earthquake Engineering Research Institute takes you through the retrofitting steps. Send $24.60 to Earthquake, KCSM, 1700 W. Hillsdale Blvd., San Mateo, Calif. 94402 or call (415) 574-6586.


Recognizing the cost-effectiveness of securing foundations before an earthquake, FEMA has established a grant program to help homeowners bolt their foundations, brace cripple walls, anchor mobile homes and strap chimneys.

The repair program is available only for owner-occupied primary residences affected by the earthquake and the maximum grant is $10,000. Interested homeowners should call FEMA at (800) 525-0321.

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