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14 Things Bay Area Folks Can (and Should) Do Right Now to Prepare for an Earthquake

Posted on August 11, 2017 by Jennifer Chan

Those of us who live in the Bay Area understand that a major earthquake could happen at any time. If we want to live here—with the mountains, beaches and great weather—we have to make an uneasy truce with the massive fault lines running beneath our homes. Luckily, while we don’t have to like our rowdy underground neighbors, we can preemptively call the cops on the party. Do these 14 things now and be prepared for a major quake.

  1. Anchor tall bookshelves and other heavy or high furniture to the walls. Be sure to attach the items to the wall studs rather then the drywall.
  2. Do not hang pictures or mirrors over beds or the couch.
  3. Read more

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Posted in: Uncategorized, Home Tips
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Understanding Bay Area Landslide Risk

Posted on October 02, 2016 by Suzanne Carroll

Dr. Ross Stein is scientist emeritus at the United States Geological Survey, an adjunct professor of geophysics at Stanford University and the cofounder of Temblor.net, a startup that enables users to freely access data about their natural catastrophe risk.

With the rainy season fast approaching, we sat down with geophysicist Dr. Ross Stein to discuss how Bay Area homeowners can better understand and mediate their risk for landslides. Of course, the Bay Area is known for its beautiful scenery and temperate weather, but it’s also known for frequent seismic activity and landslides. Dr. Stein has been studying the Bay Area for more than four decades, and he says both the region’s beauty and susceptibility to disasters come courtesy of the same force: the San Andreas Fault. Read more

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Reinforcing Your Home with Seismic Retrofitting

Posted on July 26, 2016 by James Florence

With David Lorber, owner of Superior Builders & Remodelers

Living in the Bay Area, we have a lot to be thankful for, from the mild, sunny weather to the lush, scenic landscape. Additionally, we’re spared from many of the severe weather phenomena that exist in other areas, such as hurricanes, blizzards and tornados. However, there’s one destructive natural force the Bay Area isn’t exempt from: earthquakes. While an earthquake may lack the portentous visual dread of a Midwestern twister, perhaps no other natural disaster is able to inflict such a devastating toll in such a brief span of time—often mere seconds. What’s worse, we’re due: Geologists predict that a large magnitude earthquake will occur in Northern California within the next 30 years, Read more

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Posted in: Consumers, Home Tips, Home Improvement, Real Estate Tips
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7 Ways to Save Money on Your Home Remodeling Project

Posted on January 05, 2016 by James Florence

While many Bay Area residents are preparing to tackle their long-deferred project ideas, for some, the urge to remodel is constrained by the significant expenses involved. However, even if you’re working with a limited budget, there are numerous ways you can cut costs without compromising quality. Here are seven money-saving strategies to consider:

1. Design your project to accommodate existing systems. If your plumbing and electrical systems are in good condition, you can avoid the cost of rerouting pipes or wiring by designing your remodeling project to accommodate them. In addition to saving a substantial amount of money, this strategy aligns with a sustainable approach to remodeling. Read more

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Posted in: Home Remodeling, Consumers, Home Improvement
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An “Earth-Shaking” Reminder about Preventative Maintenance

Posted on September 18, 2014 by James Florence

Like most people, I have a tendency to assume the minutiae of details surrounding my life will continue to function smoothly, whether or not I acknowledge them. However, once in a while, an uncommon occurrence rouses me from my usual state of complacency. A recent instance followed the Napa Valley earthquake of August 24, 2014.

As a resident of Santa Rosa, I was on the outskirts of the quake’s radius and only mildly felt its effects. The next day, however, as I walked onto my back deck, I was immediately struck with an eerie sensation. “Do we always get shade at this time of day?” I thought, as I looked up at the towering California Redwood that stood in my backyard and saw the tip of its crown eclipsing the midday sun. Read more

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Posted in: Home Tips, Landscaping Tips
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San Francisco Prepares for Mandatory Seismic Retrofit Program

Posted on May 21, 2013 by Chris Bjorklund

As of June 18, 2013, if you own a residential building of a certain size in San Francisco, you’ll be required to seismically retrofit it. The law specifically applies to wood frame buildings with “soft stories,” which means buildings with three or more stories, or two stories above a basement or underfloor area that has any portion extending above grade. The buildings must contain five or more units to comply with the new rules.

Ivan Diviney, owner of Diviney Construction Inc., a Diamond Certified company, explains why soft story buildings are so dangerous: “During an earthquake, large openings on the ground floor (like garage doors or commercial spaces with large window and door openings) are especially vulnerable. Read more

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