From those of us who have lived through a major earthquake, to our friends and neighbors who have not, here is what we experienced and know we all need to have on hand.
1. We heard the blinds rattle, the dogs woke up and the whole house began to shake as if it were on a giant jack hammer. We ran to the doorway.
2. The house shook so badly all the food and dishes in the cabinets fell out onto the kitchen floor making a horrible, cracked glass and food mix.
3. The huge TV in our daughter's bedroom was tossed across the floor and lodged in front of the door. She could not get out.
4. There were huge cracks in all the walls.
5. Our dogs were thrown across the room. One hit the wall with a large thud. They were terrified.
6. When it finally stopped, we did not know what had happened. We thought we had been bombed. It was not until we could get to the car radio that we knew there had been an earthquake.
7. There was no electricity, no TV, no cell phone communication.
8. Neighbors came out into the street. Afraid to go back inside their homes. Stunned, not sure what to do.
9. We got in the car that was in the driveway (we couldn't get the other one out as the garage door didn't work with no electricity) and drove around -- not a smart thing to do but we did not know. It was deadly silent everywhere. Nothing was open. Banks were wide open with windows smashes to smithereens. There were fires and devastated buildings. We could smell gas.
10. We had no water. The commodes needed water to flush.
11. When we did get water through our home, we could not drink it because it was contaminated. And there was no gas to heat and purify it.
12. Electrical power lines were down and crackling in the street.
13. There were many, many aftershocks. And for each one it was as frightening all over again.
14. The second day, the electricity finally came back on and we listened to the local news.
It took 1 day for the Salvation Army to come to a local park where people were sleeping because they were too afraid to go in their homes or they had been destroyed. They brought water and toiletries.
The local market opened, but you could only buy if you had cash because all the automated cash registers were down.
We could not get cash from the bank ATMs, they were down,
It took 3 days for the Red Cross to show up.
So here is what we have in our earthquake kit:
1. A heavy duty flashlight
2. Tennis shoes for walking over cracked glass
3. A wind up radio that doesn't require electricity = so we know where we can and can't go.
4. Emergency blankets that would let us sleep outside on the golf course if needed.
5. Light sticks (candles can't be used due to gas line issues that may appears)
6. Plenty of dog food for our dogs.
7. Food in the pantry that doesn't require cooking -- packaged tuna, bread, beans, etc.
8. $200 in cash at all times.
9. We never let our gas tank get below 1/2 full.
10. Plenty of bottled water.
11. Home medical kit for cuts and wounds
12. Jeans and sweatshirts.
Be prepared. We didn't think it would happen to us, but it did. Be prepared. The earthquake we felt this morning was a 4.5. We lived through a 6.7. Earthquakes are felt exponentially.
Don't count on anyone being able to help you for at least 3 days.
And remember to check on your neighbors. If there is a major earthquake, we will all need each other.