I grew up and spent most of my adult life here in Southern California so I am pretty used to earthquakes. We have minor ones quite often along with a few doozies years ago...one family member had their house practically destroyed some years back in the Northridge quake. And I wasn't even surprised by this one since the major earthquakes around the Pacific Rim have gradually been working themselves closer and closer to us over the years since the devastating quake and tsunami in Indonesia. Even so, the 7.2 that happened a couple of days ago was a real heart thumper. Not because things were flying off of shelves...we had none of that because we were just far enough away from the epicenter...but because of how long it lasted and not knowing if it was going to progress into being the "Big One," which certainly seemed not just in the realm of possibility but for a short time seemed like a probability. 45 seconds may not sound like a long time unless you are watching things...even the plants outside...shake like they will fly apart but it felt like an eternity at the time. Luckily it wasn't the "Big One" for us, anyway...those in northern Baja California may have a different opinion...but it is a reminder to be more prepared. Our levels of adrenalin will be shooting up a bit from time to time as we feel the aftershocks and my cats will freak out each time but I am very grateful that we have strict building codes that prevent the level of destruction we have seen in places that have few or none. We have a large tent and a supply of emergency food but they wouldn't be very accessible if our house collapsed, and our bottled water is running low...all things that have been in the back of my mind for the last year or so. I am using this earthquake as incentive to remedy that situation and to have another neighborhood meeting to discuss emergency preparedness. I think they might be more likely to pay attention this time, don't you? To those closer to the epicenter, my sincere hopes that their recovery is quick and as painless as possible.
Earthquakes aren't the only devastating emergencies that all of us face and I would encourage everyone to be prepared for whatever natural or man made disaster that you could experience. That reminds me...fire season is not that far away.