Authority & Statue                                                                           


The California Seismic Safety Commission (SSC) was established in 1975 to advise the Governor, Legislature, state and local agencies, and the public about strategies to reduce earthquake risk (Government Code §8870, et seq.).

The SSC is an independent unit within the Business Consumer Services and Housing Agency (BCSH) and offers a broad perspective of the overall “seismic risk” to the state, sets consistent policies and goals without regard to political agendas and makes independent findings and recommendations without agency bias or repercussions.

The SSC investigates earthquake-related issues and evaluates and recommends to the Governor and Legislature policies and programs needed to manage earthquake risk.

To ensure a coordinated framework for establishing earthquake safety policies and programs in California, the SSC uses the expertise of its members, experienced in earthquake-related fields, to review, evaluate, and translate scientific information and make recommendation to guide and influence earthquake safety policies.

The SSC coordinates the State’s mitigation efforts through publication and promotion of the California Earthquake Loss Reduction Plan, which serves as the State’s strategic earthquake plan, guiding the executive and legislative branches. It acts efficiently after earthquakes to gather information and recommend policy changes to incorporate lessons earned and activities to enhance seismic safety.

The SSC does not have regulatory authority over any specific programs or agencies but it is empowered with quasi-judicial and investigative powers to examine and conduct studies on seismic safety policies and programs across lines of governments and the private sector.

The SSC is composed of 20 Commissioners. There are 15 Commissioners who are appointed by the Governor, with expertise in earthquake or disaster related fields, as well one legislative Member from the California State Senate and the California State Assembly. Three Commissioners represent the Governor’s Office of Emergency Services, Division of State Architect, and Building Standards Commission. The SSC is supported by 6.5 staff members.