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Homeowners spending big bucks to guard against a devastating earthquake

KOMO

SEATTLE -- A lot of homes in Western Washington aren't up to code, and getting older homes earthquake ready is keeping some local businesses very busy.

Many homes along Roosevelt Avenue in Seattle's Maple Leaf neighborhood have been there since the 1920s, and expects say most homes built before 1970 probably need work in order to withstand a large earthquake.

Home's like the tudor owned by James Beback, which was built in 1927, are considered extremely vulnerable when the big one hits.

"We've been here since 1978,so we've been here 38 years," Beback said.

Beback's been considering retrofitting the home for years, and now the family is finally doing it.

Leif Jackson owns Sound Seismic, which is the retrofitting company strengthening Beback's home. The team is essentially anchoring the house to its foundation by bracing the walls with plywood, then bolting those walls to the foundation, and then attaching the bottom floor of the home to those walls.

Research shows it can prevent the house from sliding off the foundation when the big one hits.

"It's about, 'I want to save my life, I want to be able to live in my home after an earthquake' -- and by doing that we protecting people's investments in their homes," Jackson said.

The process for Beback's 1,600 foot home will take up to six days and will cost almost $12,000. But Jackson says some homes can take longer and can cost up to $20,000.

"I think some people have a false sense of security because their home has been through some earthquakes, but the big one will be very very different," Jackson said.

Sound Seismic has a 10 month waiting list because so many local homeowners want their house earthquake ready. For the Bebacks, it's providing the safety they know they need inside their aging home.

"Knowing we are safer, the house hopefully won't come down on top of us when the big hits," Beback said.

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