On November 30th, I was in my car with my three children and a newborn that I babysit, when the earthquake hit. It was 8:30 am and I came to the stoplight on Tudor and Boniface. I thought I was sliding so I pumped my brakes, but my truck kept moving. I then looked behind me thinking maybe someone slid into me? No, no one. The person behind me was also looking around.
I looked back at the stoplight to make sure it was still red when I realized the light pole was shaking, the trees behind it were shaking too! I yelled, “we’re having an earthquake!” Snow was flying, and I looked around at other drivers to see what they were doing because I did not know what to do!
It took me 2.5 hours to get to Lake Otis Parkway from where I was. The streets quickly filled with vehicles, leaving work to run home or to the schools to check on their loved ones. After calling all my family, I turned the radio on to listen for the magnitude and more information on the earthquake.
The tsunami warning was one that I didn’t worry so much because, as confirmed days later from the news, Anchorage is largely safe from tsunamis due to its location in Upper Cook Inlet, surrounded by the shallow, silty waters of Knik Arm and Turnagain Arm. (Anchorage Daily News, Dec.13, 2018.)
It wasn’t until I finally made it to 36th Ave. as I passed the Holiday Station quickly crowding with vehicles getting in line for gas, that it dawned on me, am I ready for the aftermath of this Earthquake?
Passing that crowded Holiday quickly reminded me of all the talks and discussions I’ve had or heard others have. All those times I brushed it off with no real concern. All the times I wasn’t going to worry about, or I would deal with it later. That time was now. In fact, that time had passed.
Here are some tips from www.ready.gov that I thought needed to be shared right here, right now.
During an Earthquake; • Drop, Cover & Hold – Drop to your hands and knees, cover your head and neck with your arms and hold on to something sturdy until the shaking stops. • Go outside if your building is damaged. • Do not enter damaged buildings. • If in a vehicle, pull over and stop. • If in bed, stay there. • If outdoors, stay outdoors. Away from powerlines and glass. • Do not get in a doorway. Try to get under a sturdy piece of furniture like a strong desk or a table instead. • Do not run outside. • Save phone calls for emergencies. Use texting if necessary.
Prepare by; • Securing objects in your home. • Creating a family plan – communications and a safe meeting place in case anyone gets separated. • Making a Supply Kit – Water, medications, and food to last at least three days (don’t forget babies! Consider keeping some formula in stock), flashlight, fire extinguisher and a whistle.
Now let’s talk about aftershocks – they are smaller earthquakes in the same area following the main earthquake. They will decrease in magnitude and frequency but can last for weeks, months or even a year after the earthquake! • Expect aftershocks! • Remain calm. • Check yourself and others. • It is normal to feel stress or anxiety after an earthquake and during the following weeks. Please seek professional help and/or talk about your feelings with a friend or a family member. We all deal with stress and anxiety differently but knowing this is a normal reaction can help you seek help easier.
Although I was not at home where I could feel the house pull and creak, windows and dishes crash and break, my experience was still very scary. It is important to remember to stay calm and safe, so we can help others. Communicate but also keep the lines of communication open. But most importantly, lets teach each other about safety.
PROUDLY POWERED BY SOL DE MEDIANOCHE NEWS, LLC. Sol de Medianoche is a monthly publication of the Latino community in Anchorage, Alaska