August 17, 2015

Earthquake Preparedness

It was a rough night last night, probably the worst once since Domingo and I first became parents three years ago. We were still awake, lying in bed at 6:49 am, having not had the chance to fall asleep yet. There was a familiar crack, and the rolling wave of energy that raced from the left side of the room to the right.

“Was that a …?” I asked
“Earthquake” Domingo answered.

There have been a number of earthquakes I’ve felt since I moved out to California a decade ago. Most have been in the last couple of years. They’ve been minor, light rumblings with no damage. I’ve never seen any indication that the girls have noticed them. During the 2007 Alum Rock earthquake Lily (our kitty) did look in the direction of the street when the shaking started. I think she was expecting a big truck. Funny aside: while there was no damage from the earthquake, I did break my toe a few hours latter by running into a dresser while chasing the cat.

I may not have been prepared for the black widow spiders, but earthquakes I’m ready for. For every major life change, every new family member gained, and old one lost, we’ve revised our game plan. We have a plan for The Big One, whenever it may hit and where ever we may be. We’ve planned out who it is that will pick the girls up from daycare (me) and whose primary job is to secure the house (him). We know to text first, email second and call last since that’s the order a signal is likely to get through. We know in the middle of the night, when awoken from a deep sleep, which one of us is responsible for securing which child. Over prepared, we are.

I’m beginning to wonder if I should involve Nicole in our earthquake “what to do if”s talks. She didn’t seem to know what an earthquake is when I talked to her, but I know her preschool does fire alarm drills. I had just finished dropping off Alexis once when the alarm went off. Presumably prior exposure to the fire alarm helped keep Nicole calm when the alarm in our apartment went off last September, less than two months before my due date. It was just the two of us, alone in the apartment. She waited patiently for me to put shoes on, then let me carry her down two flights of stairs on my seven month baby bump.

On the other hand fires (and false fire alarms as in our apartment’s case) are far more likely, statistically speaking, than earthquakes. Practicing fire drills makes sense. The big one is “imminent”, but imminent in geological terms seems to be the next thirty years or so. I don’t want to worry her unnecessarily.

For now I think I’ll wait until there’s an earthquake she feels before broaching the topic.

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