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Prepared for Alaska!? Are you prepared? How have you hedged your bets for survival in Alaska? All threads related to being ready for the worst Alaska has to dish out belong in this forum.

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Old 10-19-2008, 10:41 PM   #1
bgreen776
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Default Earthquakes!

Here is a link to the Fema Earthquake website

http://www.fema.gov/areyouready/earthquakes.shtm

Good for the basics, but should we get another biggun like '64 what differences do you think there will be now vs. then?

Do you think crime will be a bigger factor?
If so, how should one be prepared?

My Mother has a really interesting story about the 64 quake, maybe I can get her to chime in.


A little history
http://www.aeic.alaska.edu/quakes/Al...arthquake.html
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Old 10-20-2008, 02:16 AM   #2
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Default Re: Earthquakes!

The population is much higher now so I think you could expect the death toll to be higher aswell. I read about how people pulled together back then to help each other out and rebuild. I wonder if now it would be each person for themself or if people would still pull together like after 9/11 in NY. I believe that there would definitely be some looting but mostly of businesses who didn't have a any kind of security. Due to most homes having guns in AK I don't think too many people would be brave enough to start looting houses.

The fortunate part (if there is one) about something like an earthquake would be that it wouldn't affect the whole U.S. therefore the country could rally behind AK to send food, supplies, and help. The harder scenario for AK would be one that affected the whole country, then being so far away would be a blessing and a curse. The national problems up there might not affect you as much as other areas yet you'd have to be self sufficient (with little supplies coming in by boat or truck).... which most people could not do, leading to hunger, panic and everything that comes with it.
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Old 10-20-2008, 03:06 AM   #3
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Default Re: Earthquakes!

One other thing I was thinking is that the military presence in AK would be a huge help. Not only would they be able to help police maintain order but that's a huge workforce that could be put to any use like rebuilding destroyed runways for cargo planes, recovering bodies, passing out emergency food rations. That kind of manpower at your (Alaska's) disposal would be a HUGE bonus.

I've thought about that scenario here on Maui and it's scary! If we had an earthquake or tsunami it would be devastating because such a huge portion of the population lives near the beach. We have a population of around 140,000 permanent residents and over 2.5 million tourists visiting annually. That means at any giving time (if my math is correct) we have around 200,000 people on the island. There are only about 250 officers here and a VERY small amount of Army guard and reserve troops. Basically, we'd be trying to keep order over 200,000 people with a force of maybe 400 officer/soldiers... that doesn't sound very appealing!
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Old 10-20-2008, 06:01 AM   #4
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Default Re: Earthquakes!

Just had to add that there are some key bridges and runways that could be damaged in the event of a large shaker. With these being damaged, supplies could be a bit further away than you think.

How would the runways at TSIA fare? I don't think they would do so good. Is Merril field long enough for jet traffic?
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Old 10-20-2008, 06:38 AM   #5
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Default Re: Earthquakes!

Last I heard/read there was about 3-4 days worth of food in the stores if all shipment stopped. (it's been a while so I can't vouch for the source anymore) If that is true, things could get "interesting" fast. As B-one mentioned, it would only take one or two bridges to totally isolate us for vehicle traffic and I would imagine the International Airport as well as Elmendorf airport would be damaged in a 64 type earthquake as well as the port. The farther away from Anchorage you are the farther away from government "help" you would be since when the port and airport were opened that is where everything would be based (imo). For me, I can't see getting any help for at least a week, maybe 2 or 3.

How does someone in Alaska survive the month of February with no power or natural gas. My goal is to be able to do that. 4 weeks in the worst of winter. Hmmm... got a long way to go! Maybe I should have put in a wood stove with the perm fund!
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Old 10-22-2008, 07:14 PM   #6
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Default Re: Earthquakes!

An earthquake in Anchorage like the '64 would be a real cluster. I would certainly bug in. I don't think crime would be much of a problem. We have a pretty significant military presense locally that could implement some rapid martial law.
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Old 10-23-2008, 05:04 AM   #7
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Default Re: Earthquakes!

The military would be quick to repair any damage to the airstrips on the bases. EAFB and Ft Rich both have them. Military aircraft like a c-130 can land almost anywhere and would be able to bring supplies and stuff to make repairs or keep the people fed. Air drops might also be used. Dont forget about the bases in other Alaskan locations. Hard to believe that a quake in Anchorage would cause severe damage to the infrastructure in Fairbanks or Kodiak.
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Old 10-23-2008, 11:40 PM   #8
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Default Re: Earthquakes!

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Originally Posted by racinghoss View Post
Hard to believe that a quake in Anchorage would cause severe damage to the infrastructure in Fairbanks or Kodiak.
Might look at the 64 quake a little closer. Epicenter Valdez, trashed Kodiak and Anchorage.
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Old 10-24-2008, 03:00 AM   #9
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Default Re: Earthquakes!

I did not say that there would be no damage in those locations.
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Old 10-24-2008, 05:58 AM   #10
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Default Re: Earthquakes!

My concern would not be so much damage to other areas as it would hurt the roads etc. that are needed to get from one area to another. In some cases one or two bridges that are damaged will isolate areas of our state making access difficult. If the quake is in Anchorage, Fairbanks may be fine, but little help could get in until an airport, railroad, or road is repaired. Having the military around would definately help getting stuff up and going again.
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Old 10-24-2008, 07:46 AM   #11
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Default Re: Earthquakes!

i dont think it would take much to bring down the house of cards that is every day living. Here or anywhere else. My father was in one of the worst areas in the 90(?) earthquake in LA, and he still doesnt like to talk about it. Southern Illinois got hit with a 5 earlier this year and they were caught unprepared. Luckily the damage was minimal, it could have been really bad.
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Old 10-24-2008, 08:53 AM   #12
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Default Re: Earthquakes!

I asked my mother to jot down a few memories of her experiences during the 64 quake, here is the rough draft of her account.





64 Quake


At the age of eleven I discovered that the ground under my feet was no more stable than my mother’s favorite green Jello. I don’t know why it took me so long to figure it out since I’d experienced earthquakes of varying magnitudes several times a year for as long as I’d drawn breath. Born in pre-statehood Alaska to hardy, self-sufficient, frontier parents, I dealt with climate and geological extremes with the same aplomb as those around me – until Good Friday, 1964.


On that Friday morning, after months of odd-jobs and babysitting gigs, my best friend Carol Ann and I were ready to shop for Easter dresses. Schools were closed for the holiday, and the new and modern three-story JC Penney store (with ELEVATORS!) in downtown Anchorage beckoned. Carol’s mom, Betty, agreed to drive us the ten miles, planning to pick us up again a few hours later. It was our first solo shopping trip – we were quite certain this marked our elevation to adult status.


Unfortunately, prior to the shopping adventure, we shared an entire bag of Cheetos and drank a large quantity of Dr. Pepper. After only a few minutes in the store, Carol Ann was forced to call her mom from a pay phone (a technical challenge) and confess that she’d thrown up in the ladies room and wanted to go home. We waited on the sidewalk near the 5th Avenue entrance. Betty eventually arrived, with older daughter Linda in the front passenger seat, and she was not happy. A working mother of five with many weekend chores awaiting completion, the wasted drive was for her an inconvenience and irritation. We hunkered down in the back seat of her beautiful powder blue Oldsmobile, trying to listen respectfully to the butt-chewing without giggling. Betty’s language was always colorful.


As we approached the intersection of what is now Dimond Blvd. and the Old Seward Highway the Olds began to hop like a demented jack rabbit – up, down, and sideways. It was interesting but we weren’t afraid. Yet. Betty began to curse. First she thought we were jumping around in the roomy back seat. Then she assumed a flat tire. “Jesus Christ,” she yelled, “a Goddam flat tire!” The giggles in the back seat became loud guffaws. “Shut up you little brats!” said front seat big sister Linda. “Just shut up!” The madder Betty got, the funnier we thought it was, even after we realized it was an earthquake. We’d had hundreds – no big deal, right? Wrong.


Betty, the most glamorous and sophisticated of all the homestead neighbors, was known for her uncommon and sophisticated use of makeup, hairspray, cigarettes and spicy language. When a gaping 18” crack ripped across the road in front of the car and we bounced sideways into the ditch, Betty’s skin as viewed from the back seat lost all color, creating an interesting demarcation where the pancake began. Even more amusing to the morons in the back seat, the loud curses changed mid-sentence to ferverent prayer. We found this hilarious – howling with rude preadolescent laughter. Linda nearly came over the seat trying to slap us silent. After forty-odd years I still chuckle remembering this spontaneous religious conversion.


The road before us undulated like a snapped sheet. Cracks gaped and then slammed shut like the mouths of monsters. Large sections of road collapsed. Our front tires hopped into a crevasse not quite wide enough to swallow them. Carol Ann and I were still laughing but now there was a hint of disbelieving fear in our voices. It stopped being funny when a manhole cover shaped chunk of peat and ice blew out of the frozen bog ten feet from my window, soaring to a surreal height above the power lines. The highway was destroyed, pavement crumbled, groaning crevasses too wide to jump now decorated the roadbed every few feet.


The motion seemed to last a lifetime. It was, in fact, the longest and most violent earthquake in recorded history. The aftershocks began almost immediately and rivaled the original event. The only sounds inside the Olds came from Betty and the restless earth. Eventually Betty subsided. Nobody spoke for half an hour – nobody moved. We held ourselves still and rigid as though we feared that some small movement would tip the Olds into the underworld. Aftershocks continued unabated. It wasn’t simply that we were too scared to move, it was that we had no means of safely moving more than a few feet, no way of calling for help, and not much to say. Betty began to repeat, “Curt will come. Curt will find us.” Carol Ann and I were more reassured by this mantra than the previous frantic prayer.


Eventually we spotted the familiar fins of a 1957 red and white Chevy Ranchero. Carol’s dad Curt, a veteran WWII and Alaska bush pilot slowly approached, bridging the still rumbling crevasses with 2x12 lumber, driving across, and repeating the process – progress measured in inches. We had no pre-rehearsed emergency plan, but at that time there was only one road to “town” – the Old Seward Highway. Hours passed before we made it home. To this day, for that and many other reasons, Curt is my hero.


We later learned that the JC Penney building had collapsed, killing shoppers and folks parked at the curb where we had only minutes before waited for our ride home. Thank goodness for Cheetos.


Like many homesteader-type families, ours had the means to survive without such frills as electricity, running water, or a furnace. Coleman lanterns and cook stoves normally used in hunting camps emerged, the neighborhood creek provided water to wash and flush when it was discovered that the cracks and crevasses had drained the well, and a wood stove kept our family and a large number of less prepared neighbors warm for a week or more while Anchorage settled into the new reality of a town without infrastructure. We got by. We did better than that – we got by and had fun as well.


I’m sure my parents worried until the well began to refill and the aftershocks diminished, but I remember hearing nothing like whining or fretting – not by anyone. Alaska in that era was not populated by whiners. For the most part we were comfortable because we lived a lifestyle of preparedness as a matter of routine. Our freezer was full of moose, caribou and salmon. The pantry sported cases of canned fish and game as well as garden vegetables. The root cellar held a small mountain of burlap sacks filled with homegrown potatoes and sand-filled buckets stuffed with carrots and other root vegetables. Power outages were common and lengthy back then, so nearly every family stocked batteries, fuel for the lamps, camp stoves, and vehicles, ammunition, and firewood. Work was often seasonal so essentials like canned fruit, powdered milk, and toilet paper were purchased in quantity during rare trips to the grocery store, and stored for a rainy day. These items became more valuable than cash.


After the ’64 quake we were without electricity or phone service for weeks. We stayed informed with a crackly transistor radio and let our stateside relatives know we were safe via a neighbor with a ham radio. School and jobs were on hold for the duration. Neighbors helped neighbors repair damage. The hardest work involved filling the cracks with gravel from a neighborhood pit, one bucket or pick-up load at a time. No one waited for or expected to be “rescued” by a government agency.


As an adult, I no longer live the minimal, subsistence, self-sufficient lifestyle of my parents, sad to say. I purposefully stock a good supply of food and “survival” gear – most far more sophisticated than the supplies of my parents. While I might survive a similar event should another occur in my lifetime, I doubt that I could pull it off with anything approaching the grace and skill as my parents and neighbors. Living on the “ring of fire” I may yet have a chance to find out.

Cecelia Curtis
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Old 10-24-2008, 09:11 AM   #13
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Default Re: Earthquakes!

awesome post. thanks for sharing with us.
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Old 10-24-2008, 09:34 AM   #14
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Default Re: Earthquakes!

Quote:
Originally Posted by billythedeadboy View Post
awesome post. thanks for sharing with us.

Brook, please thank you mum for the memories ……….. excellent stuff

I am exactly the same age as your mum (born in 53) and for us in the UK the winter of 63 /64 is regarded by most as the worst in living memory with terrific snow storms and temperatures of -17C (about 0F). At the time I lived on the edge of the Dartmoor National Park (I still do) and our house was cut off by heavy snow for maybe a month or so ………… but yes, we survived because in those days folk were well prepared. I remember your earthquake as it was widely reported on the international news (BBC Worldwide).

I think in today’s younger people will struggle because they have been brought up in a ‘nanny state’ environment …………..

I guess the biggest fear in UK today is a widespread flooding event ………… we came close in 2000 & 2003…………. But hell, I’ll be OK……… for me to flood the rest of the town here (pop 36000) will be under 171ft of water . Since 2000 a ton of money has been spent on beefing up the flood defences, but it’s really too little too late.




Ian

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Old 10-24-2008, 09:59 AM   #15
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Default Re: Earthquakes!

I enjoyed that story Brook. Very well written Mrs. Curtis! I hope when the day comes, I will have been atleast half as prepared as those that went through the 64 quake.
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Old 10-24-2008, 11:00 AM   #16
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Default Re: Earthquakes!

WOW, thanks for sharing!
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Old 10-24-2008, 12:49 PM   #17
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Default Re: Earthquakes!

Quote:
Originally Posted by bgreen View Post
64 Quake


I doubt that I could pull it off with anything approaching the grace and skill as my parents and neighbors. Living on the “ring of fire” I may yet have a chance to find out.

Cecelia Curtis
Ms. Curtis, thank you for time and recollection of the quake. The lessons to be learned from your experience are priceless.

Don't ever sell yourself short, having lived through it once...It would probably be like learning to ride that proverbial bicycle, except you may laugh afterwards when you realize the colorful language is now your own voice.

You are to be commended, having raised Brook should be enough of a cross beared that Heaven is an assured final stop for you. Too bad they had to throw a large earthquake at you before that.

Again, thank you for enlightening us to the magnitude (pun intended) of a situation we may need to face some day...but prepare for NOW.

Mike
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Old 09-25-2010, 10:28 AM   #18
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Default Re: Earthquakes!

ttt
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Old 09-25-2010, 05:39 PM   #19
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Default Re: Earthquakes!

Thanks for the story!

I think it could be good and bad if we were to have another big quake. It would help us to become a more prepaired state. That is with food and medical suplies and services. On the other hand, we would all have to put our "crazy" on hold for a couple of weeks.

I "THINK" "WHEN" this situation comes up again we will have those of use who are prepaired and those that get dinner every night on the way home.

The ones that get it on the way home will be in a state of mind that, they won't stop at anything to keep food at the table. Those will be the people that will be doing the "crazy" things to keep keep them and thier familys alive.

Those that are prepaired will have to keep "crazy" at bay long enough to see what happens after a week or two.

I agree with the military fixing things up in no time, BUT it will effect the whole state. That state only has a few days of food in the stores at all times. With this being said, I would be willing to bet, that everyone that works in the grociery store will be rushing home to their family. So that will leave the store open for free range. With all the crap going on, people will be doing desperate things in desperate times. Hard to say what will happen when the day comes, this is just my personal spin on this.

Time to start talking to our neighbors, they will be your family and friends in a SHTF situation. Might be a good time to stock up on some food, medical supplies, and something to keep you warm if this comes in January.
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Old 09-25-2010, 11:58 PM   #20
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Default Re: Earthquakes!

Haha, thank goodness for Cheetoes! Good read, Bgreen. My granddad was the chief of police in Kodiak during that quake. He held the city together and put it back together afterwords. He told me all kinds of stories about the big quake. Sure do miss the guy.
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Old 09-26-2010, 12:27 PM   #21
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Default Re: Earthquakes!

My dad, his brothers, and parents had one of the original homesteads on Highland so they experienced it too. Did some damage to their house but being a homestead they were well equipped. He talked about parts of Eagle River elementary falling into ground and disappearing completely If we had another big quake and things got crazy I'd probably just go to our cabin until it settled down a bit.
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Old 10-01-2010, 05:38 AM   #22
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Default Re: Earthquakes!

Having lived in SoCal for a few years, I can consider myself somewhat of a veteran of the earthquake. Don't get me wrong, I won't claim to know everything about them, or how to keep from getting swallowed by one.

I had the misfortune to be in the Northridge quake of '94. The magnitude was a 6.9 on the Richter scale. I was on the tenth floor of an Ontario hotel when it hit at around 4am. As soon as it happened, my dad jumped up and went for the door. The building was swaying so badly, that the steel door was pinched shut, and could not be opened. While my dad was wrestling with the door handle, I opened the curtains and looked outside. (stupid move I know) I remember looking across the black landscape, and watching the transformers exploding. It was one hell of a light show thats for sure.

After the sun came up, I remember walking by the swimming pool, and noticing that there was no water left in it at all. Wild!

We're all taught to stay indoors, and go to a doorway, or hide under a desk when one comes. But seeing all of the deaths related to collapsed buildings, I don't think I would like to stay indoors at all. I think I would rather take my chances outside.
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Old 10-01-2010, 11:30 AM   #23
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Default Re: Earthquakes!

They've been predicting a big on here in SoCal for awhile...it was supposed to hit yesterday or today...6.5-7.0mag...hasn't hit yet.
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Old 10-03-2010, 03:00 PM   #24
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Default Re: Earthquakes!

I think it is goint to be "luck of the draw" here in Anchorage if we get another big one. Depends on where you are, what you are doing and what time of day it is. If it is severe, you can hang up getting to the cabin because all of the roads are likely to be thrashed, power lines will be down and generally blocked by debris. The death toll will be MUCH higher. You think FEMA was slow to get to the Gulf Coast? If our roads and runways are totaled, how are they going to get supplies in? Air drop? Have enough in your vehicle to survive a few days. Throughfares should be back open by that time or at least some travel corodores (sp?). After that, hope your house is still standing. After that, MAYBE you will be able to get to the cabin... It is going to get crazy. Be interesting at least. Hope it isn't -20 when it happens!
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Old 10-12-2010, 08:34 PM   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by B1 View Post
Having lived in SoCal for a few years, I can consider myself somewhat of a veteran of the earthquake. Don't get me wrong, I won't claim to know everything about them, or how to keep from getting swallowed by one.

I had the misfortune to be in the Northridge quake of '94. The magnitude was a 6.9 on the Richter scale....
No way! I was in that one, too. I was in the Santa Clarita Valley (about 10 miles from the epicenter) where the hwy 14 overpass collapsed. I was in college at the time and across the hall there was a visitor from another college. He was staying on the floor of a room that had a 55 gallon fish tank (~440 lbs of water + tank and rocks). It landed on him in shards. After the shaking, I walked out with my flashlight into the hallway and the first thing I see is this guy standing in the doorway, covered with blood from head to toe. Turns out it was just a gash in his head that bled profusely, as head wounds do. Besides that (and minor shock), he was fine. It was a bit traumatic at the time though. My sister, who was at the same college at the time, tried to get up to get to the doorway. She could not move. The ground under her was shaking too violently. She got thrown back down onto her bed. If the heavy part of the quake is hitting, don't expect to be able to move at will. You are at the mercy of unimaginable forces. I cannot describe the feeling other than to say that Hollywood's shaking cameras are nothing like the real thing. You are helpless. I ducked and covered under my covers--better than getting thrown around in the box--as stuff started to fall off the shelf above me. I first understood the fear of God that night. It all made sense. The frailty of man and the awesome power of God were driven into me. And this was just a small movement of a piece of dust in a tiny universe compared to the majesty of the Creator. I absolutely loved being in the quake, though I would wish it on no one, not even myself. Such raw power is awesome.

Edit - just read the FEMA page. I am not a wimp for ducking under my covers. It's what FEMA says to do. At the time it was instinct. From the website:

"Stay in bed - if you are there when the earthquake strikes - hold on and protect your head with a pillow, unless you are under a heavy light fixture that could fall. In that case, move to the nearest safe place."

Last edited by MasterLeo; 10-12-2010 at 08:55 PM.
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