Earthquake safety and hurricane preparations, WHO pissed off Mother Nature?

Did I feel the earth move…under my feet?!  Wait, was that an Earthquake?  Holy crap, yes, it was!  Seroiusly, and sadly, I wasn’t sure….and neither were any of my neighbors!  When you live in earthquake zones you expect earthquakes.  When you live in the DC metroploitan area you worry it might be something else!  So, in a weird strange way are happy it was  an earthquake!  The concensus on my street is we all feel lucky and are relieved it was just an act of mother nature, moving the earth!  All be it, 5.9 earthquake, the biggest in this area in a very long time, a significant event.  Sadly, I know little about earthequake safety or hurricane preparations!

I was with my kids, going in and out of the house, on my laptop trying to write a blog with my daughter, and had a few kids on the trampoline, one on the swingset, one running into the house…..when the deck started moving, the table shaking, windows rattling, swaying, clearly a scary feeling knowing you are out of control.  My daughter saying what is that?  Having to say I don’t know as its getting worse and worse, then the sound of your house moving, the look in your kids eyes, things you never forget!  It sent my daughter screaming inside looking for daddy working in the basement (not a good idea) as I was trying to gather the rest of the kids…with a firm voice!  He eventually appeared wondering and saying “what the hell was that?”, he said stuff is moving, shaking, falling off the shelves, and he wanted to know if we felt it.  Haha, did you not hear the screams or see our faces?!

Thank god for my neighbors…Donna (who survived a 7.2 quake in LA) yelled over STAY outside, bringing my oldest back out, and stopping me from sending the others inside.  My college buddy lives across the street, being home alone, he came outside to see if “it was just my house moving” and he heard me telling the kids to “get together and stay with me!” as we swayed back and forth.  It was nice to have him and Donna there…..thanks guys! 

We had no land lines, no cell phones, no texting….but the weird thing is we could receive them!  As we waited for tv confirmation that it was an earthquake I immediately thought about my college friends visiting that we had dinner with last night who were in DC sight seeing with their kids!  Just hoping they were alright.  I had people calling, texting, and asking if we were OK?  But, I couldn’t answer, although I did try, lol!  Oddly enough, I did have access to Facebook!  Woot!  Watched people up and down the east coast posting how they felt the quake, so I knew we weren’t alone, which was good to know and a comforting feeling….and as I’ve learned from Seth Godins post today, its normal to want to feel that way!  It was great that from my cell I was able to tell people we are all ok, things are fine, shaken up a bit, literally, but grateful all is Okay!

Needless to say many people who were evacuated didn’t go back to work, they went home!  The roads are a mess, the trains are over crowded, traveling at 15 miles an hour…..and its going to be a nightmare getting home….but I totally understand their wanting to get home to family, kids, parents, their loved ones! 

There was damage to the National Cathedral, and minor damage reported around town, but no deaths to report, so I’d say we are VERY lucky here in VA/MD/DC area.  Guess I have some learning to do about earthquakes and hurricane preparations!  Did I mention, Hurricane Irene, category 3, is approaching fast, said to hit us sometime Saturday or Sunday?!?!

I have to admit, I am still a little shaky inside….and my kids are a bit freaked….but we are going to be fine, after Irenee makes her appearance!


p.s.  I still have no land line access, BUT I have text messaging on my cell:)

Have you been in an earthquake?  Where were you?  Do you know what to do during an earthquake?  Inside or outside?  What is your advice for me, the novice???  How do you explain it to a child?

About Rita Brennan Freay

The journey of a 1000 miles always ends with a dirty diaper. Headmaster of a self inflicted international preschool & visitor center compassionately changing kids lives, one diaper at a time.
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16 Responses to Earthquake safety and hurricane preparations, WHO pissed off Mother Nature?

  1. We live on the San Andreas fault line in No. CA so earthquakes are a known quantity. Having said that, I haven’t really lived through a big one yet. We are prepared with kits in the house, the car and a plan for all of our family that lives in this area to call our out of town family member to confirm we are all right.

    So glad you are alright, albeit shaken up a bit (couldn’t resist).

    Devoted to finding all things delicious

  2. Lisa N Valero says:

    I’m so glad you’re all ok, even though shaken up :-\
    The worst is not having the answers for the kids so you can reassure them and comfort them! Having a plan of action set up with the kids involved will definitely help (plus the great tips that you’ve received from all your California peeps!)
    I’ve been through several minor quakes in California, Mexico and Venezuela, but never with kids – it does make a difference! I went through hurricane Andrew in Miami when my son was just 10, and while we were holding doors closed to the rooms where windows blew out, he was soundly sleeping on the bathroom floor in a sleeping bag!!! LOL!
    As of this afternoon, it looks like you are be on the outer edge of the cone of probability (I’m still willing it to keep moving East!) You can check the progress on this site: Zoom in, refresh it and click on the forecast models. This gets updated as often as NOAA issues an update (I prefer this site rather than NOAA’s because it’s more interactive.)
    As everyone says, being prepared gives you security! (BTW artists clay to secure ornaments and things to the surface they’re on!)
    Hope the kids fell better about it each day! Good luck with Irene XX (fingers crossed :-)) and comforting hugs to you!!! ♥♥♥

    • Rita Brennan Freay says:

      Thanks Lisa:) Still a bit off today, but getting there! See, you get it, add the kids and it changes everything! My husband didn’t get it, when I was trying to explain that I was worried about all my kids running in different directions, and wanting them all together with me, he laughed and said he wasn’t that worried….duh, because you were by yourself!!!!! Anyway, my daughter is worried it will happen again…..I told her that was over, now we’re onto preparing for the hurricane, she laughed. Wow, he slept thru Andrew?!?! Kids amaze me, lol! So I guess being prepared is what I need to focus on so the kids have jobs and are busy too….very helpful! And I really appreciate the site you gave me, that will be great….oh and the artists clay, I had no idea, lol! Thanks so much for all your well wishes and hugs, very comforting!!! Fingers crossed here too…keep you posted:) Thanks! ♥

  3. SO happy to hear you are all fine, Rita. Growing up the SF Bay Area we experienced many earthquakes — we even held earthquake drills (like fire drills) at school. There was always that adrenaline surge during quakes, but I was never fearful until the big ’89 quake. I was living in SF’s Marina District at the time (one of the hardest hit areas) and it was pretty chaotic and frightening. Fires were burning everywhere. No electricity, gas or phones for days. Just writing this, I can literally feel the fear in my body again.

    In addition to what others have said about preparedness, I suggest a small stash of cash as well. For days, banks didn’t open and ATM’s were down after the ’89 quake.

    Good luck with Irene coming through…

    Heidi & Atticus
    “commentary to give you paws…”

    • Rita Brennan Freay says:

      Ohhh, the thought of earthquakes always freaked me out….that had to be stressful as a kid, no?!?!? Traveling to LA for work, freaked me out, lol! But ironically, and thankfully, I never experienced one there! Can’t imagine….we are so lucky here that it was uneventful for the most part…and nobody got hurt! Adrenaline for sure…..hoping I don’t experience that again anytime soon. Thanks for stopping by and I love your tip about money, woulda thought!!!

  4. I am another native Californian who takes earthquakes with a grain of salt. We have earthquake proofed everything in the house by using florist clay and wall fasteners. We have extra water and cupboards full of canned goods. That’s as much preparedness as we can muster. Funny how you can accept mother nature when you get used to her eccentricities!

    • Rita Brennan Freay says:

      Hi Bill! Wow, with a grain of salt, sure could have used one of you here today! I am intrigued by the florist clay…..what did you use it for?! I get the water and canned goods, think I am covered there, so thanks for making me feel better about being prepared:) Appreciate your stopping by and for giving me your expertise, having been there, done that! Thanks again:)

  5. Pat Zahn says:

    California native here – been through many an earthquake in my day, which is why they don’t really freak me out I guess. My husband, who is from Colorado, is almost obsessive about preparedness. He has emergency packs in both cars, in our bedroom and out in the yard along with water jugs that he replaces regularly. The wrench is out near the gas main too. He says I’ll be sorry if “the big one” hits… In the meantime, here is the government’s preparedness info:

    • Rita Brennan Freay says:

      Thank you Pat! So, does that mean you get used to it?! Wow. I will check out this link. Not sure I will prepare to your husbands extent, BUT I will make adjustments…since all I had learned from my days of traveling to LA for work, went right out the window today!!! I also feel different now fending for 4 kids, when it was just me in LA I would have had my graphic designer/friends and the hotel….well at least that’s what was in the back of my mind, lol! They did tell me what to do, just in case.

  6. Julie Labes says:

    I was once on the roof of a hotel in Crete sunbathing when a fairly big one hit. Funny thing is during the initial quake my adrenaline kicked in and I started shouting orders to my girlfriends..things like..”get off the roof”
    We did get off the roof and were safe. When it was over we went to our rooms and sat on the bed…then, (like we knew would happen) came the aftershocks..they were the scariest… not nearly as bad as the original quake but now we were calm…now we were not in flight or fight mode…we just sat on the bed with our eyes closed while the room shuddered a few times. waiting for it to pass.

    Not an experience I was to relive any time soon

    Julie Labes: The Fun-Loving, Feisty, Fearless, Frisky, Fierce Over 50 Traveler

    • Rita Brennan Freay says:

      OH Julie, I, like you went into adrenaline mode….screaming get off the trampoline! I can still feel the adrenaline….and am shaky:( This too shall pass….but gonna have the game face on for the kids, lol! Of course in hind sight the trampoline was probably the safest place….for all of us, lol! Mothers…

  7. I have only been in a couple of tiny earthquakes – never one as big as that. You must all have been terrified! especially when it comes somewhere that isn’t prepared for it. So East Coast and Colorado – what the heck is going on! Glad you are okay Rita xx
    Louise Edington
    Breaking Through Online Frontiers

    • Rita Brennan Freay says:

      Terrified is a good word Louise! Speechless too, when my oldest kept asking me WHAT is that mom (over and over), and I didn’t have an answer she got scared… and learn! Glad its over and that we’re ok…NOT sure whats going on as you said, and not looking forward to any more earthquakes, please keep those out wests, where they are prepared, sort of, lol! I need a drink!!!

  8. I have experienced several out here in California, especially the pretty big one in 1989 that threw me off a bed where I was taking a nap. My dear friend, fellow actor, Janet was driving across the Bay Bridge and had just completed the span when it collapsed. I think what you described so well of losing control really resonates with me. How to you get grounded when the ground was shaking. I am so glad you and yours are ok, if shook up. I think it is disorienting for a while after, but hang in there—that weird feeling does eventually disappear.

    • Rita Brennan Freay says:

      WOW, now that is an experience I’d never forget….yes, we are disoriented and at a loss for words to explain it to young kids, who think its going to happen again at any moment…….looking forward to that weird feeling disappearing!!! Thanks for checking in on us Vicki;)

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