I am sure most of you have heard now that San Diego, well actually all of Southern California, parts of Arizona and all the way into Nevada, were affected by the 7.2 earthquake that hit Mexicali on Easter Sunday at 3:40 p.m. DST.
When I say affected, for most of us it was a major emotional experience as well as the physical shake up. Mexicali (in Baja California) and Calexico (a desert border town in California) were the hardest hit. They sustained the most real damage to buildings and property. There were 2 deaths and hundreds injured in Mexicali. 25,000 are homeless-- many are sleeping in the streets, afraid to go back into their houses.
For me, it was the single most terrifying earthquake I have been in. I have lived in San Diego since I was almost 6 years old and I have been in MANY earthquakes, but nothing like this one. Most of them, by the time you realize it is an earthquake, it is over. A few seconds at most.
This was very different. Our house first began vibrating, then shaking, creaking, popping. For over 30 seconds, everything in the house was being moved and shaken. Our flat screen TV began rocking on the stand, chandeliers swinging. NEVER have I been in an earthquake that shook that hard and that long. As pure terror gripped me, I began crying. Fear paralyzed me as I thought, THIS is the BIG ONE.
Thank God, it was not.
In the days since, I have realized how completely unprepared we are for the BIG ONE. We not have an Earthquake Kit, we do not keep sturdy shoes and a flashlight by our bed at night, and our heavy furniture is not secured to the wall. We live life as if the BIG ONE will never happen.
My nerves are still on edge. We have had hundreds of aftershocks in the days since the quake. I can feel them all day at my desk in my ninth floor office downtown. Unsettling. Scary. Each time the rumbling begins, I hold my breath and wait. Will it continue? Will it get stronger? Is this another one? Is this the BIG ONE?
This quake was a wake up call and has spurned me into motion toward preparedness. I have done some necessary research and am going to get my Earthquake Kits together. I learned that everyone should have an Earthquake kit at home, in each car and at their workplace. The reality is that I don't know where I will be when an earthquake happens. I must be prepared.