What I did When "The Big One" Hit

Discussion in 'Earthquake' started by ziskasun, Jun 13, 2016.

What I did When "The Big One" Hit 5 5 1votes
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  1. ziskasun

    ziskasun New Member

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    In 1992 I was living in the Mojave Desert in Joshua Tree CA when the Landers (Joshua Tree) 6.1 earthquake hit. This was followed three days later by a 6.5 quake in Big Bear CA. I remember it vividly and just wanted to share some memories because it became clear to me what really mattered at that time. The quake was the type that rolls and wobbles then shook violently. It was late at night and my first instinct was to jump out of bed and run to my screaming 5-year-old. I was surprised how the motion of the quake threw me from side to side into walls, and I was very off balance. Windows cracked, and walls got little faint cracks as well. I remember how bizarre it seemed to me that my hanging plants were swaying wildly in the moonlight. I distinctly remember how loud it was and at the time I didn’t know what was making all that noise.

    After the shaking stopped I carefully began to check the house out. I carried my child with me as I found a flashlight and my shoes and began to survey the damage. I quickly thought of a friend of mine who was home alone with her 4 kids and I abandoned my survey to go check on her. I walked down the street and some of my neighbors were out checking on each other and looking stunned. I found that my terrified friend was “hiding” huddled in a storage closet with her kids. She was crying and very upset. We decided we would stay together so, her and the kids came back to my house with me.

    A few small aftershocks happened which freaked the children out. But eventually, we got them to go to sleep. In the morning, I could not believe the damage. It became apparent that all the noise was the things in my house moving, bouncing, and shaking. Drawers bounced open and the contents shook out all over the floor. My refrigerator “walked” across the floor and unplugged itself and tipped into the kitchen counter top. Decorative items flew off shelves smashing all over the floor. My small fish aquarium flew off its shelf and was reduced to a pile of broken glass, soaking the carpet and killing the fish.

    There was no electricity for 4 days. Thankfully, where I lived, we had running water restored by the next day. I felt lucky because some people lost their entire home. Mine just needed to be cleaned up and some mirror repairs.

    What did I learn from all this? Well, I was young and at that time, being prepared meant not running out of milk for the kids and having a flashlight. However, I did learn a few things that I will share. These may be basic things for most, but having been put to a real test, it’s what stands out in my mind:

    1. Toilet paper – I know it may seem weird, but nervous frightened people, especially kids have to go…allot. Note to self: stock up on that TP!

    2. Shoes – I know, basic stuff, but keep your shoes by the bed. Every night. No exceptions.

    3. Keep a flashlight by the bed as well. Keep one in every room.

    4. Strap your stuff to the wall. Refrigerators, shelves etc. become VERY dangerous in a major earthquake.

    5. Be prepared to help others. People seemed lost, wandering and in shock. Be prepared for that reality.

    6. When it comes right down to it, “stuff” is all just reduced to rubble in a big earthquake. I decided then to not spend money on “stuff” that is useless and that I will just be stepping on later. I use what money I have on things that help me, not get in my way.

    While we would maybe rather not think of it, “the big one” IS coming. No matter where you live you are pretty much guaranteed that you could experience a major earthquake at any time.
    Deeishere likes this.
  2. barbecueIt

    barbecueIt New Member

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    Thank you for sharing your learnings and experience with that big earthquake. I am glad that everyone in your family and your friend's are safe. To keep an emergency bag full of supplies like water, biscuits, change of clothes, flashlight and tissue paper is definitely recommended. I am sure that "the big one" will happen I just don't know if it will be during my lifetime.
  3. Deeishere

    Deeishere Member

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    Thank you for sharing and being very descriptive of what happened. I use to live in California. I was actually there in 1992 in the San Francisco Bay area. While I have never been in a big earthquake, I have experienced tremors and they always freaked me out. I never could get used to the ground shaking and not being able to do anything about it. The feeling of loss of control is unnerving. I use to keep my shoes by my bed too. We were a little ignorant in that we didn't strap our refrigerator or secure our cabinets. I don't know why...just foolish. I know what could happen in Cali and my husband went through the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake. Fortunately, he only had cracks in the walls. There is speculation that an earthquake could happen soon because of the pressure build up along the San Andreas fault and that it's reaching a tipping point. Some say there could also be a tsunami as high as 20 to 30 feet.
  4. NZJO10

    NZJO10 New Member

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    I live in New Zealand and we have had a few large earthquakes, but we are due for the big one at any time, so everyone keeps saying. The big one here will probably hit around where our capital is of Wellington city. All the big earthquakes we have had so far have been in the 6 range, which means that the big one will be much higher. So I need to get prepared soon.

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