Heart Choices: Earthquake in LA -->

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Earthquake in LA

I first heard the news about the earthquake in LA from a post on Twitter. I was busy working online. I can see why news organizations are active on this site. Ordinary people can report on what's happening when it's happening. I'm really starting to enjoy technology. For a person who is working from home and has a popular sanguine personality, I can tell you it's been fun meeting many interesting and nice people online. And I don't mean the dating kind. After all, I'm a happily married woman.

The news of the LA earthquake immediately brought back memories of 1994; the Northridge Earthquake. I was very close to the epicenter of that one and it had a magnitude of 6.6! I had never experienced an earthquake in my life. After all, I live in Phoenix, Arizona. I was in California to attend a pacemaker seminar sponsored by Medtronics. At the time, I was working as a cardiovascular nurse and I had to keep up to date on programming the latest pacemakers. I found my journal from that date and read it after hearing of the latest quake news.

It was January 17, 1994 and I was rudely awakened from a deep sleep at 4:31 in the morning by a violent shaking of the building. I was staying on the 12th floor of the hotel and the lamps flew off the nightstand, crashing to the floor. The drawers were opening and closing and my watch and earrings were somewhere on the floor. Even though I had never experienced this before there was no doubt in my mind what it was. It seemed to last forever but I guess it was only about 20 seconds or so. Suddenly there was an eerie silence and the building began to sway back and forth and I heard a creaking sound. I remember at the time thinking, is the hotel going to collapse? Needless to say, I survived and we evacuated the hotel. I think I got one of the first flights out of the Burbank airport since they had grounded all planes for a time. I got the T-shirt from the Medtronics company as a souvenir and yes, they did reschedule our conference several months later.
I was amazed at how calm I actually was in the midst of this experience. You never really know how you will react; whether you'll panic or stay calm. I was glad that I was calm under the circumstances and was able to help comfort some of the other more frightened guests at the hotel. We never know when our last day will be but it caused me to think about the choices and priorities in my life; what's really important and to know where I'm going when it's all over. I was thankful it wasn't my time.
Debbie Petras
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  1. Very scary indeed. I have not been in an earthquake, but I have lived through a terrible tornado in AZ, and several hurricanes in Florida, and some near miss tornadoes in FL. I HATE tornadoes with a passion, but I guess they are like earthquakes, unpredictable. At least with a hurricane you know it is coming.

    Cool shirt.

  2. That's right Laurel. I think the unexpectedness of an earthquake makes it so hard since there's no time to prepare.


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