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Homeowners Jason Sew Hoy and his wife, Cheryl Sew Hoy, at their abode in Oakland. The brace acclimated a admission to retrofit their home to accumulate it from sliding off its foundation during an earthquake. (Josh Edelson / For The Times)

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In the asleep of night, the convulsion shuddered through this decades-old home, advancing from an epicenter aloof a mile away.

It was a alarming moment, alike admitting the convulsion concluded up actuality aloof a consequence 4.4 and acquired no aloft damage. And for this homeowning couple, they bound took alleviation in that aloof months before, they had completed an convulsion retrofit to accumulate their 1930s-era home absolutely on its foundation.

“Thank God we did it,” said Cheryl Sew Hoy, 34, “especially with this one coming,” pointing to her growing belly. She is due to accord bearing in beneath than two months.

A few cities beyond California accept in contempo years stepped up requirements that acreage owners retrofit accessible barrio to bigger bear earthquakes. But those efforts accept focused on accommodation buildings, breakable accurate barrio and unreinforced brick.

While single-family homes accept frequently been apparent by experts as beneath acceptable to account afterlife in an earthquake, deaths are still possible, and the banking after-effects can be catastrophic.

Older California homes can accelerate or topple off their foundations in an earthquake. Structural architect Janiele Maffei offers admonition on what precautions should be taken to retrofit such homes.

Homeowners who abide aloft accident can face a bill of hundreds of bags of dollars and years of active out of their home to adjustment the accident — all while still advantageous the mortgage, experts say. Only about 10% of California homeowners accept convulsion insurance.

The Sew Hoys are allotment of a growing cardinal of Californians who accept amorphous to accompany convulsion retrofits for their single-family homes, demography advantage of a admission affairs that has been adjourned by the California Convulsion Authority and the accompaniment Legislature to retrofit single-family homes.

Well acquainted of the risk, experts are aggravating to attract homeowners to act and strengthen some of the best frequently accessible homes beyond the state.

Particularly accessible are homes of a blazon about congenital afore 1979, with a scattering of accomplish aloft the ground.

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There’s a botheration aback the abode is absorbed to the foundation by a flimsy, abbreviate bank — accepted as a “cripple wall” — that creates a clamber space. This bank and the copse beams that accumulate the abode off the arena about accept not been attached deeply to the foundation.

So in an earthquake, the abridgement of anchor amid the abode and foundation can account the home to be shoved off — as if the afraid has burst the building’s knees.

“It’s like you’re affairs the rug out from beneath the house,” said Janiele Maffei, a structural engineer.

It can be a cher adjustment — adopting the home abounding anxiety into the air and cloudburst a new foundation afore blurred the abode aback down. Homeowners in abounding California earthquakes, from the 1971 Sylmar convulsion to the 2014 Napa earthquake, accept suffered such damage.

So in contempo years, California admiral accept been advancement homeowners to booty action.

Adding a new bolt, with a metal plate, provides a bigger anchor amid a wood-frame home and its accurate foundation — capital to accumulate a home from sliding abroad aback annoyed in an earthquake. (Josh Edelson / For The Times)

State admiral and the about managed California Convulsion Authority accustomed a affairs for assertive ZIP Codes that offers grants of up to $3,000 to retrofit homes breadth the attenuate bank surrounding the clamber amplitude is beneath than 4 anxiety tall.

The statewide boilerplate amount of such a retrofit is about $5,000, although abounding simpler retrofits in Southern California are active in the $3,000 range.

The program, alleged Convulsion Brace Bolt, reopened its allotment account for the aboriginal time in a year Tuesday. Grants are accessible in assertive regions of California. Allotment closes on Feb. 23; applications can be filed online at www.earthquakebracebolt.com.

Part of what has fabricated the affairs accessible is an accomplishment to abridge retrofit designs so that a custom engineering plan is not bare and the assignment can be done by a contractor. Hiring a structural architect can be costly, and the addition of ready-to-use retrofit designs decidedly lowers costs, said Maffei, who runs the affairs for the accompaniment and the California Convulsion Authority.

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There are advancing efforts to abridge retrofit designs for added types of accessible homes. By August, Maffei said, a new ready-to-use retrofit architecture will become accessible for homes with attenuate walls up to 7 anxiety alpine — blurred retrofit costs for homes in that category. Grants will additionally be fabricated accessible for those homes.

A home damaged in the 2014 Napa earthquake. (Evan Wagstaff / Los Angeles Times)

There are added types of single-family homes that additionally deserve scrutiny, but there are no actual affairs to action grants at this time.

One such blazon is homes with a active amplitude aloft a garage. Sometimes, the board walls acknowledging the barn are too flimsy, and could collapse in an earthquake. Because the capital botheration is a abridgement of backbone in the garage, the birthmark is accepted as a “soft story,” and acclimation it may amount article in the ambit of $20,000.

Another ambiguous chic is hillside homes. During the 1994 Northridge earthquake, a adolescent Sherman Oaks brace fell to their deaths aback their hillside home burst and slid bottomward the hill. Strengthening these homes can be alike added costly, and about requires a custom-engineered design.

More Californians accept developed absorbed in retrofitting homes with abbreviate attenuate walls. Grants accept been provided to armamentarium added than 4,000 retrofits in the aftermost four years, and addition 2,000 are planned for this year.

In 2016 and 2017, the grants were adjourned both by the accompaniment Legislature and the California Convulsion Authority, the about managed nonprofit that provides convulsion allowance to Californians. This year, all grants will be adjourned by the authority; account premiums that go to the nonprofit accomplish assets from investments.

The band-aid is straightforward, as Maffei afresh showed The Times in a bout of the Sew Hoys’ home. To accumulate the home abiding over the accurate foundation, one band-aid is to spiral in new metal bolts in the house’s everyman copse breadth to the accurate foundation. “The bolts accumulate it from sliding,” Maffei said.

A additional step, if needed, is to add plywood to the bank aloof aloft the foundation. “The plywood keeps it from toppling,” she said.

Hillside homes can collapse in an earthquake. Ken Hudnut, a U.S. Geological Survey analysis geophysicist, explains some means to anticipate a abode from sliding away.

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Finally, it’s additionally important to band the baptize boiler to a wall, foundation or a metal pole. A accepted antecedent of blaze afterwards an convulsion is for the gas baptize boiler to fall.

Sew Hoy’s husband, Jason, said convulsion assurance was a antecedence for the brace as they confused from actuality renters in San Francisco to homeowners in Oakland.

The $3,000 admission from Convulsion Brace Bolt came in handy, atom a cogent allocation off the $8,000 absolute retrofit cost. The assignment took three days.

The Berkeley convulsion afore aurora on Jan. 4 “felt like a alternation was activity accomplished appropriate by the window. It didn’t aftermost that long, but continued abundant that we were both advanced awake,” Jason Sew Hoy, 36, said.

And the acquaintance reminded them aloof how adequate they were to accept accomplished the retrofit. “We feel great. We feel a lot added secure,” he said.

Regions in Southern California breadth Convulsion Brace Bolt is alms grants of up to $3,000 to retrofit assertive types of earlier single-family homes. (California Residential Mitigation Program)

Regions in the San Francisco Bay Breadth breadth Convulsion Brace Bolt is alms grants of up to $3,000 to retrofit assertive types of earlier single-family homes. (California Residential Mitigation Program)

Regions in the Santa Barbara and Montecito breadth acceptable for grants to retrofit assertive types of earlier single-family homes. (California Residential Mitigation Program)

Areas in the Los Gatos and Watsonville areas acceptable for Convulsion Brace Bolt grants to retrofit assertive types of single-family homes. (California Residential Mitigation Program)

Areas in the Eureka breadth acceptable for grants of up to $3,000 to seismically retrofit assertive types of single-family homes. (California Residential Mitigation Program)

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