What NOT to do when an Earthquake hits Manila…

Around ManilaEnvironment
March 25, 2010

Well folks, I can now add another natural disaster to the list of things I’ve survived in my life, which currently includes:

1.  Tornadoes
2.  Blizzards
3.  Golf-ball-sized hail storms (hurts the car every time)
4.  Typhoons/Hurricanes
5.  Near-volcanic eruptions

Yes, that’s right.  I lived through my first earthquake.  It was a crazy little thing.  Shook the floor for about 30 seconds.  I later learned that it was a 6.2 on the Richter scale – WHOA, huh?  It sounds worst than it felt.  In fact, I thought it was all kind of exciting.  Here’s how it played out:

It was roughly 1:30 in the afternoon and I had just arrived at the 6th floor of Carewell, where I volunteer with the Cancer patients.  I was saying my hellos when all the lovely ladies started praying loudly and clutching their chairs.  I didn’t realize it was an earthquake at first, just thought there was some construction nearby, so I jumped right into the prayers in an attempt to “fit in”.

10-15 seconds in I heard the word Earthquake and everything clicked.  What was funny was that I had no “flight or flight” response programmed for earthquakes.  So I just found myself standing there smiling, a bit in awe.  I even screamed a bit for fun just to feel a part of the chaos!

Now, in retrospect, I realize that this was NOT appropriate behavior.  I should have been getting in a doorway (I think) or going to the roof (so as not to be crushed by the collapsing building).  Did I do any of that?  NOPE.  I danced around like a 6 year old instead.

Note to self: don’t zone out in the future at Emergency Disaster Preparedness Training!  Happily, I lived to tell the tale and I can now say that I survived a 6+ earthquake!

Can someone please walk me through an Earthquake drill, because all I’m programmed to do, I realize, is:

-go to the basement
-get away from the windows
-get into a tucking position
-bring my head to my knees

Not proving to be overly effective for typhoons and earthquakes…

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