California State Treasurer, FEMA Official, Structural Engineer and Earthquake Retrofit Expert

To Discuss Resilience Policies 2.0 Needed To Protect California from Natural Disasters

Policies needed before major earthquakes strike California will be discussed by State Treasurer Fiona Ma, a FEMA official, a structural engineer, and a resilience expert during the Resilience Advantage webinar on Sept. 15. The event will be sponsored by Optimum Seismic, Inc.

Seismic Policy 2.0 — policies needed before disasters strike – will be discussed along with current trends and policy actions government, the financial and insurance industries, and others can take to make our built environment and economy more resilient.

A monster 8.2 earthquake in Alaska, a massively destructive wildfire season expected to be made worse by record droughts and the tragic collapse of a 12-story condominium in Florida all point to the need for greater resilience. 

Against this backdrop, government officials, business leaders, architects, structural engineers, community planners and property owners urgently need to work together to make buildings, businesses and communities more resilient to earthquakes and other disasters. 

Improving resilience takes public education and policies that balance safety, protecting the economy, and the cost of improvements. Community leaders and public policy experts will discuss these approaches, as well as financial incentives – lending practices, insurance discounts, tax and fee relief and other measures – that can motivate and reward owners to invest in resilience.

These webinars are designed to enable property owners to make better informed decisions about the degree of safety they want from their buildings, how quickly they should recover from damage, and how much this improved performance will cost initially and ultimately save. 

“By embracing the lessons we have learned over the years, Resilience Policies 2.0 can help California better withstand and recover more quickly from the devastating impacts of major earthquakes,” says Evan Reis, program host and executive director of the non-profit U.S. Resiliency Council.  “These actions can assist buildings and communities withstand shocks, avoid death, injuries and serious property damage, preserve jobs and housing, and protect vital services and local economies and recover more quickly from California’s greatest natural hazard – earthquakes.”

Panel members are: California State Treasurer Fiona Ma; Amanda Siok, Earthquake, Tsunami & Volcano Program Manager, Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA); Ryan Kersting, Associate Principal / Structural Engineer at Buehler and legislative committee chair of the Structural Engineers Association of California (SEAOC); and Ali Sahabi, Co-Founder of Optimum Seismic, Inc.  

A 20-minute video shown as part of the webinar will include interviews with experts addressing the types of policies that can be implemented before disasters strike to further mitigate seismic threats. Trends and policy advancements that are effective in dealing with natural hazard challenges will also be discussed.

“Earthquakes can have devastating impacts on vulnerable buildings, people and our economy, but they don’t have to be disasters,” says Reis.  “Investing in resilience is good economics, sound business, and responsible public policy, and this webinar will show how policy advancements in many areas can help California become more resilient now and in the future.”

“We have learned much that can be used today to protect California’s economy and quality of life when earthquakes strike,” says Optimum Seismic Co-Founder Ali Sahabi, a leader in earthquake retrofitting and the resilience movement. “This webinar will examine how new policies can help property owners, businesses and public officials to better protect investments, tenants, employees and the community at-large.”

“Building codes and other public policies have advanced over the past several generations, but there is still much to do.  As an example, an estimated 2.5-million Californians live in some 100,000 existing affordable multifamily buildings that are subject to collapse in strong earthquakes.  We must take earthquake threats seriously and act promptly,” says Sahabi.

“Property owners risk building collapse, business failure, liability, bankruptcy and more.  The bottom line is the economic benefits of earthquake retrofits and greater resilience are impossible — and dangerous – to ignore,” Sahabi adds.

More retrofitting of existing buildings was urged by The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) in a major report presented to Congress in January.  FEMA has estimated 40 percent of businesses that close their doors due to disasters will never reopen. When buildings collapse, businesses close and communities are hurt as workers lose their livelihoods and housing. Recovery can take years, if not decades.

USC researchers estimated Southern California could suffer property damage of $113 billion in a major temblor, with additional business-related impacts of $68 billion or more.  Estimates put damages caused by a magnitude-7 earthquake on the Puente Hills fault running through downtown Los Angeles at more than $252 billion with thousands killed and hundreds of thousands displaced.

More than 90 percent of buildings in California’s urban areas are estimated to not comply with modern building codes.  Many older, vulnerable buildings can be made safer by earthquake retrofits.

In addition to the costs of physical damage, business interruption and lost market share caused by earthquakes, courts have determined property owners can be held legally liable for deaths and injuries occurring in their buildings if they are found negligent of maintaining a hazardous condition by not taking reasonable actions to safeguard their facilities.

Throughout 2021 The Resilience Advantage webinars will explore how improved resilience can safeguard California’s businesses and communities in the face of natural hazards such as earthquakes, wildfires, floods, and pandemics.  Upcoming webinar dates and topics include:


September 15 Resilience Policies Save Lives & Money 11 a.m.-12:30 p.m.

October 20 Earthquake Threats in California 11 a.m.-12:30 p.m.

November 17 The Resilience Advantage Recap 11 a.m.-12:30 p.m.

For additional information call Optimum Seismic at 323-605-0312.To register for complimentary
The Resilience Advantage webinars visit   Links to prior Resilience Advantage episodes are available here.

Contact: Tom Robinson 562 237-1629