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Home > Blog > 2019 > CEA’s Earthquake Awareness Push Reaches Northern California

CEA’s Earthquake Awareness Push Reaches Northern California

May 15, 2019
CEA’s Earthquake Awareness Push Reaches Northern California
Some media outlets are using a widget similar to this one to link to an earthquake preparedness resource page.

In 1868, the Hayward Fault in Northern California ruptured, causing a M6.8 earthquake. Even though the Bay Area was sparsely populated at the time—there were only about 260,000 people living in the region—the damage from the earthquake was considerable. Chimneys fell, walls cracked, and buildings collapsed. Several East Bay towns were devastated by the shaking, which lasted more than 40 seconds.

Fast forward to today, and the situation is even more serious. There are now more than 7 million people residing in the Bay Area; about 2.4 million of them live along the Hayward Fault, which runs through densely populated cities such as Oakland, Berkeley, Fremont, and of course, Hayward.

The Hayward Fault is considered by scientists to be the most urbanized earthquake fault in the United States. Hundreds of structures are built directly along the fault line, and the fault is crisscrossed by mass transit corridors and major freeways.

A “Tectonic Time Bomb”

USGS scientists refer to the Hayward Fault as a “tectonic time bomb,” because it’s due for a large rupture. Historically, earthquakes occur along the Hayward Fault about every 150 years; last year marked the 150th anniversary of the last big quake along the fault.

So what would a big quake along the Hayward Fault look like today?

The USGS and its partners, including the California Earthquake Authority (CEA), set out to determine just that a few years ago. Working together, they developed the HayWired scenario, an in-depth look at the kind of damage we can expect if a M7.0 earthquake were to strike along the Hayward Fault. Drawing on the latest seismographic data and comparisons with similar historical earthquakes, scientists were able to model what the Bay Area would likely experience during a major seismic event along the fault.

The HayWired scenario is sobering: hundreds of people dead, thousands injured, and tens of thousands of residents suddenly displaced from their homes. Thousands of houses and commercial buildings would be damaged. The estimated financial loss would surpass $100 billion.

But while a major earthquake is inevitable, the HayWired scenario is not. The fact is, we can reduce our risk of earthquake damage by taking steps now to prepare—as individuals, and as a state.

Living in Earthquake Country

Scientists tell us there is a greater than 99% probability that a magnitude 6.7 or larger earthquake will strike California sometime in the next 30 years. It may happen along the Hayward Fault, or the San Andreas, or another of the hundreds of active faults in California. While we don’t know which fault will rupture first, we do know how to make all of California more earthquake-resistant.

That’s one reason why CEA has stepped up its public awareness efforts this year, with an increased media presence throughout the state. After a strong start in the Los Angeles region, CEA’s new marketing push is coming to Northern California. This push includes TV and radio spots, along with print and outdoor advertising. And as with our previous wave of marketing, our NorCal effort will be supported by email blasts to homeowners and renters.

As part of this public service effort, a link to essential earthquake information will appear on the websites of multiple media outlets (TV, radio, newspapers) in Northern California. Each of these media websites will link consumers to a centralized earthquake resource page with tips and information about earthquake risk and preparedness. As in the LA region, several media outlets in Northern California are already linking to this vital information from their websites, and more outlets will be joining them soon.

Nine Partners Team Up to Provide Earthquake Information

The earthquake resource page is part of CEA’s goal to expand earthquake awareness throughout the state. Joining us in this important effort are eight governmental and nonprofit organizations, including CalOES, USGS, and FEMA.

These partner organizations offer information specific to their respective missions. The American Red Cross, for example, focuses on disaster relief and recovery. Earthquake Brace + Bolt offers information on seismic retrofitting. And CEA explains how to buy earthquake insurance in California and how to file a claim.

From SoCal to NorCal and Beyond

CEA is rolling out its new marketing in stages. In March, we began airing TV and radio ads in Southern California, and introduced the earthquake resource page, which is now being linked to from the websites of dozens of news outlets in the Los Angeles region.

This quarter, our focus is on the San Francisco Bay Area; this will be followed by the San Diego region in August. And in October, news outlets in smaller markets throughout the state will begin hosting the digital widget, bringing the total number of media outlets involved in promoting earthquake preparedness in California to more than 150. Also in October, we’ll begin our annual advertising push for the Great California ShakeOut earthquake preparedness drill.

Get Ready for More Earthquake Insurance Questions

If you want to take full advantage of CEA’s additional marketing, then you should prepare for the questions you’re sure to get from your insureds and potential new clients. If it’s been a while since you last took a CEA training, visit the CEA training page on the Agent Portal to brush up on all the benefits offered by CEA earthquake insurance.

And if you haven’t taken one of our training courses yet, now is the perfect time to do so. You’ll receive the latest, up-to-date information on CEA policies, and will qualify for two free CE credits upon successful completion of the training. Completing a CEA in-person, online, or webinar agent training also makes you eligible to join our Marketing Value Program (MVP). MVP agents enjoy a variety of benefits, including fun promotional giveaways to help you market to your insureds.

Leverage Increased Earthquake Awareness

Becoming an MVP agent now will give you access to another important program benefit: direct mail. Planning a direct mail campaign to coincide with CEA’s advertising in your region will help you maximize your outreach to potential clients.

CEA’s direct mail is available in English, Spanish, and Chinese, and is free to MVP agents. CEA will not only personalize the mailers with your return address; we’ll pay the postage for you too. Just visit the Agent Store to order what you need.

CEA’s marketing push is happening now. Make sure you get all the tools you need to take advantage of it. Visit the Agent Portal today.

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