Thursday, September 8, 2011


A couple of weeks ago, the East Coast had a little earthquake. Of course, those of us in California snickered a little bit about all the coverage it received. I’m sure it was frightening as most people there had not ever been through one before. The amount of people who felt it was also quite large due to the size of the Earth’s plates on that side of the country. So some of the coverage was probably warranted.

Well, we had an earthquake last week. Did any of you know that? Probably not since we have them ALL THE TIME. It was only a 4.3, but since its epicenter was in the city I live in, it felt pretty big. The problem is that earthquakes scare me. No they don’t…they FREAK ME OUT!!!

This was not an ordinary earthquake because it happened during school hours! This is a scenario that has kept me up at night. I have a hard enough time keeping “it” together when it’s just me I have to worry about, let alone other human beings…little human beings…other people’s little human beings!

At the end of the day, all of the primary students sat with their teachers at a fundraiser assembly when the floor underneath us jolted a couple of times and then rolled. The sound of the building moving was an awful sound. Most of the students were focused on the speaker at the assembly but the teachers felt and heard it. I’m not mentioning any names, but a few even gasped, catching the attention of some students nearby. We all stared at each other waiting for more. Our emergency preparedness went right out the window as there wasn’t a disaster alarm to send us outside, and no one thought of just going. The assembly continued, and we all thanked our lucky stars that this wasn’t “the big one” and we didn’t have to spend the night at school waiting for trapped parents to pick up their frightened kids.

Come to find out, all of the upper grade classes did evacuate onto the playground wondering the whole time why primary wasn’t outside too. I blame my lack of procedure following on fear.

This is as close as I ever want to get to having an earthquake while our students are still in school. We survived this minor one, but clearly we are not mentally equipped for more than that.


  1. Must be horrible having something that you thought fixed to suddenly begin moving willy-nilly.

    I've Martin Sheen's- a fellow Tipperary and NUI,Galway man- son Charlie on the twitter machine, he mentioned it. Now there's a fellow that needs to spend a year or two on the high mountains. He's a bit on the liverish side.

  2. @Vince - The unknowing about earthquakes make them so much worse than other disasters. At least with hurricanes and blizzards there's warning. Yes, a year or two out of the spotlight would be good for him wouldn't it. I'm actually a fan of the father and his stint on the West Wing. My dad's family is from Tipperary too (and Limerick).

  3. I didn't grow up in earthquake territory, and I know it would freak me out!!!

    I did however grow up in tornado territory and we had tornado drills. During a tornado drill all the kids had to pile out to the hallway get on the floor and cover the back of our necks with our hands.

    I don't know what good all that will do in a tornado and it always felt a little bit like getting under your desk when an atomic bomb goes off.

    I suppose that you could look at it this way:

    What would have happened had you taken the kids outside when the alarm wasn't sounding?

    What if the place you were to take them when the alarm sounded was a giant sinkhole and once you had taken the kids out there, you all sank in the hole and ended up in China? That would just be un-American.

    So really by not taking the kids out there, you have saved them from a life of communism and cheap manual labour.

    You should be proud of your patriotism. They should be awarding you a medal.

    Also, when it boils down to it, doesn't the fault really lie with the person whose job it was to push the alarm and didn't?

    I bet that that person is a communist sympathiser and you should take it on yourself to turn them into the FBI.


  4. @hula-the person who is supposed to ring the bell came in about 2 minutes after, stopped the assembly, and told us we were in the safest room in the school. I'd much prefer that though since our school sits on a somewhat manmade hill overlooking the valley. If we were to have a big one I foresee that we would become one with that valley rather than overlooking it.

  5. I think the earthquake was such a big deal here because it covered so many states that normally don't get them.
    It even went up into Canada! When I moved I was grateful that we had only had little ones while I was there.

    It must have been really scary at school. Having everyone in the same room probably was a little reassuring though. Then you were all doing the same thing. I'm so glad that nothing happened. maybe all these little ones are preventing a big one from coming?

  6. Yeah, I could see how you could get Freaked Out. Especially with all those little kids around you. As an Earthquake specialist now having one under my belt, I can tell you that your building was probably better built than anything here on the east coast when it comes to earthquake preparedness.
    Did I impress you with my smartitude?
    Your Friend, m.
    p.s. And I bet I can guess which "big girl" gasped.

  7. WoW! I have never been at school during an earthquake...just last year's tornado was enough for me...and that was in CA!

    Being stuck with 25 other people's kids... the thought is scary!

  8. @Jill - Yes! I think more people felt it over there then we ever do on this side. I do hope the little ones lessen the chances of another big one.

    @Mark - Very impressed! As a matter of fact, this school is only 9 years old, built after the Northridge quake. So it's probably pretty sounds as far as eqs go. However, I'd rather not find out. I was one of the gaspers, however my teammate Maria gasped louder and grabbed my arm. So she was a bigger chicken than I was.

    @M - Oh, I had forgotten about that tornado. That's pretty bad too, but again at least you knew it was coming.

  9. Our disaster preparedness sucks- which makes things so much scarier! And even as only some of the classes came out (totally waiting for a bell and for office staff to come out- never happened) he almost made us feel silly for doing so since it was "no big deal". Umm, don't mess with mother nature!!

  10. It is seriously one of my biggest fears...being trapped at school during a big one. I had already left and was having lunch because it was our minimum day. Glad it wasn't too big!!!

  11. If the time ever comes you will be prepared ... your natural instinct will kick into high gear and your will protect your "flock"

  12. WOW... it must reallybe frightening to feel the earth move. Thankfully in England, although its wet quite alot we don't suffer with major weather or earthquakes, tornadoes etc.
    I'm glad your ok though and the children. I love hearing stories from around the world like this one.... another reason i love blogging. Just catching up with my commenting now. ;-)