Preparedness Month: Free earthquake-retrofit permits

Not only is it Disaster Preparedness Month, we’ve also just been reminded – by news of the Northern Mexico earthquake – that we’re in quake country and need to do everything we can to be prepared to get through something big. There’s news from the King County DDES today about one way the county’s trying to help – here’s the announcement:

King County’s Department of Development and Environmental Services (DDES) is helping citizens in unincorporated King County to prepare for an earthquake emergency with free home earthquake retrofit permits on homes that meet specific criteria.

DDES Customer information Bulletin #50, Obtaining A Voluntary Home Earthquake Retrofit Permit, is available online here and outlines criteria for securing a free retrofit permit from DDES. In general, the homes must:

o be of wood-frame construction;
o have a light-weight roof;
o not be irregularly shaped;
o have a reinforced concrete foundation;
o not exceed two stories in height; and
o be on a relatively level lot.

Free earthquake retrofit permits at DDES can usually be issued over the counter if a complete application has been submitted. (Homes that do not meet these criteria can still secure an earthquake retrofit permit, however the process involves more review time and permit review fees are charged.)

“I hope more people will take advantage of this important program,” said DDES Director John Starbard. “Our region dealt with the impacts of the Nisqually earthquake in 2001 and, although that event was not of the same magnitude as more recent international earthquake disasters, modern building codes minimized the physical and economic damage of the 2001 quake for the benefit of the entire region.”

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