Home > Blog > 2019 > TV Special Shows How to Prepare for an Earthquake in California

TV Special Shows How to Prepare for an Earthquake in California

Image: TV Special Shows How to Prepare for an Earthquake in California

For the past several years, California Earthquake Authority (CEA) has worked with other earthquake-preparedness organizations to increase awareness of earthquake risk, and to educate the public about the importance of planning for the next damaging earthquake. CEA representatives have spoken to the media, presented at community events, and talked with thousands of individuals.

And Californians are getting the message. Recent news articles in major newspapers have covered the topic of earthquake safety, underscoring the inevitability of a big earthquake, and providing important information about how to prepare.

In that same vein, a Los Angeles news station (FOX 11) recently devoted a half-hour of air time to this important topic. The show, titled “Surviving the Earthquake,” featured several earthquake experts, including seismologist Lucy Jones, who served as co-host with news personality Hal Eisner.

CEA is proud to have participated in this production as part of our goal to educate, mitigate, and insure. This TV special—and its accompanying podcast—are now available for streaming.

“The first thing we do is tell people to buy earthquake insurance.”
Jarrett Barrios
American Red Cross, LA Region
speaking on “Surviving the Earthquake”

How to Prepare for an Earthquake in California

The show opens with riveting scenes from some of California’s biggest seismic events, including the Northridge, Loma Prieta, Sylmar, and Coalinga earthquakes. There’s even historical footage of the 1906 San Francisco earthquake (M7.9). These are powerful images, but don’t let them discourage you. The fact is, you can recover from an earthquake, even a big one—as long as you plan ahead.

Scientists tell us there’s a greater than 99% chance that a magnitude 6.7 or larger quake will strike California within the next 30 years. It’s not a matter of if, but when.*

So how do you make sure you’re ready?

Here are three initial steps you can take now to prepare for the next big earthquake:

  1. Know how to Drop, Cover, and Hold On when the shaking starts.
  2. Pack two emergency supply kits—one for your house, one for your car.
  3. Develop an earthquake safety plan for the entire family.

For details on these and other lifesaving tips, visit earthquake preparedness sites like FEMA, the American Red Cross, and California Earthquake Authority (CEA).

Residential Insurance Doesn’t Cover Earthquake Damage

In addition to providing lifesaving tips and explaining how to protect your home, “Surviving the Earthquake” also demystifies another important topic—earthquake insurance.

Many people don’t know that homeowners and renters policies do not cover earthquake damage. As CEA representative Chris Nance points out during his brief interview, California residents need a separate earthquake insurance policy, or they may be responsible for 100% of the cost to repair their homes and replace their belongings after a damaging earthquake occurs.

But how do you find the right coverage for your home? After all, your needs will vary depending on whether you own or rent, and whether you live in a house, condo, or mobilehome.

Fortunately, CEA has different policies for each type of living situation. And we offer a variety of coverage options, with deductibles ranging from 5% to 25%. We also offer policies to replace your damaged belongings. You can even get coverage—with no deductible—to pay for your hotel if you have to leave your home after an earthquake strikes.

Seismic Retrofitting Saves Houses

If you own a house, does it have steps leading up to the front door? If so, it sits on a raised foundation. And if it was built before 1980, it may be especially vulnerable to earthquake damage. Houses like this can slide off their foundations during a large earthquake. If this happens to your house, it could take years and cost hundreds of thousands of dollars to make your home safe and livable again.

But as “Surviving the Earthquake” makes clear, there is a way to make these types of houses more earthquake-resilient.

One of the expert guests on the show is Annde Ewertsen with Earthquake Brace + Bolt (EBB). During her exchange with host Hal Eisner, Ewertsen discusses the most effective way to protect an older, wood-frame house from earthquake damage: a seismic retrofit.

The typical earthquake retrofit costs about $3,000 to $6,000. Fortunately, there are grants available to qualified homeowners to help pay for seismic retrofits. The EBB program, for example, provides grants of up to $3,000 to California residents in higher-earthquake-risk ZIP Codes. These grants are available to all qualifying California homeowners; you don’t have to be a CEA policyholder to participate in EBB.

In addition, CEA has its own retrofit grant program, CEA Brace + Bolt (CEA BB), just for qualified policyholders. Like EBB, CEA’s program provides grants of up to $3,000 to help pay for retrofitting older houses. To be eligible, you must have been invited into the program and meet other program requirements.

If you own a house built before 1980, consider getting it retrofitted. Doing so will help protect your family and save you thousands of dollars in possible repair costs. And if you’re a CEA policyholder, it will also qualify you to save up to 25% (starting July 1, 2019) on your CEA policy premiums.

“We always talk about insurance being the first line of defense. The second line of defense are your personal resources.”
Susheel Kumar
PIO, Small Business Administration
speaking on “Surviving the Earthquake”

Surviving the Earthquake—Where to Find More Information

Throughout the show, host Hal Eisner reminds viewers to access additional earthquake information resources by going to www.EQHeadquarters.com. This page, created by CEA in partnership with eight other earthquake preparedness organizations, serves as a central site for accessing almost any type of earthquake safety, preparedness, and recovery information.

Landing pages much like this one will soon be available on the websites of more than 160 media outlets throughout the state, including TV and radio stations, as well as newspapers. Check your local media outlets to see if they’ve updated their websites to include access to this lifesaving information.

Podcast of “Surviving the Earthquake” Available Now

In addition to the TV news special, FOX 11 has developed a related audio series, airing on its “What the Hal!” podcast. Also called “Surviving the Earthquake,” this podcast series contains three short episodes, each one focusing on a different aspect of earthquake safety: preparation, survival, and recovery.

Like the TV show, the podcast discusses practical tips, like securing heavy objects and stocking extra water. And it includes information about two other important pieces of earthquake preparedness—seismic retrofitting and earthquake insurance.

Now is the Time to Prepare for the Next Big Earthquake in California

The “Surviving the Earthquake” news special provides a useful overview of earthquake risk, and gives you the information you need to start preparing for the next damaging earthquake. Take half an hour to watch the show, or listen to the companion podcast next time you’re in the car. Then share these valuable resources with your friends and family, so they can get earthquake-ready too.

*According to the third Uniform California Earthquake Rupture Forecast (UCERF3) report.

Calculate Your Earthquake Insurance Premium