July 4th not only started with a bang, but we here in Los Angeles had quite a roll as well. I was just getting out of the shower and was stark raving naked when the earthquake hit. Suddenly the bathroom started to sway. We live on the bottom floor of a two-story apartment building so there’s always the chance of being crushed like a bug.
The tremor lasted for about 30 seconds. On the local news, it was determined that it was a 6.4 with the epicenter located near Ridgecrest out in the desert. That’s about 150 miles away from where I live in Burbank. We’re pretty used to Earthquakes here in LA and I survived the Northridge quake over 20 years ago when I was living in Hollywood.
Northridge was horrendous, especially in the San Fernando Valley. I was living up in the Hollywood Hills on bedrock, which is the best place to be during an Earthquake. However, Hollywood Blvd, down below really took the hit. Buildings were red-tagged and the Egyptian Theatre was virtually destroyed. About a month later I moved to Granada Hills, near Northridge and had all my furniture fall over in a 5.3 aftershock.
Since then, most of Los Angeles has been retrofitted for Earthquake Safety. In fact, my daughter was at the Ronald Reagan Library in Simi Valley during the 4th of July quake and didn’t feel a thing.
That night there was heavy artillery outside. Our apartment complex has a large population of film students and some of them were shooting off fireworks nearby, illegally. Between that and the Universal Studios fireworks show, it was loud. One of my dogs was freaking out, while the other one was passed out.
The next day I was sitting in my living room watching TV and the room started rolling again. It rolled and rolled for at least 40 seconds. We knew that was a big one as well. It’s turned out to be 7.1 which is huge. It took a while for the news to get up to speed but then we were watching our wonderful Lucy Jones from Cal Tech explain what was happening. Lucy has been reporting earthquakes forever, and everyone in LA relies on her.
The difference between the Ridgecrest earthquake and Northridge was that Northridge shook and you felt like you were inside a maraca. People were losing fences, houses slid down hills, and apartment buildings collapsed. Ridgecrest was a roller. The worst that happened in LA was that people felt seasick. Electricity went out in a few places and Wilshire Blvd broke a water main and flooded. People went on about their business almost immediately.
Dodger Stadium was full of fans and the game went on without a break during the whole thing. The people up in the top bleachers had quite a ride.
I should have known something was going to happen because my freaked-out dog had been having a spaz attack all day. Between the fireworks and 2 earthquakes, she may need therapy. She must have known something was going to happen. After the second quake, she was running all over the house panting and thrusting her tongue in and out.
Last night she slept all night. I think she wore herself out.
Experiencing an earthquake is a reminder to be prepared
I’ve endured many earthquakes ever since the big Sylmar quake (6.5) in 1971 when I was living in Orange County. I’d rather be in an earthquake than a tornado or hurricane any day. However, I freak out when I get stuck in traffic under a freeway overpass and sometimes in the subway, which shut down right after the last quake.
We bought a couple of earthquake survival kits that sit on our patio (because we have very little storage space in our apartment) I also have a backpack with first aid supplies, a change of clothes, and shoes in the trunk of my car. If you have pets make sure they have a pet survival kit including food and meds. Water is important too, even though that’s hard to store as well in a tiny apartment.
Even if you don’t live in earthquake country, make sure you have everything you need on hand and easy to access. You never know if North Korea will send a missile over or a meteor will hit.
As for other news on my shaky Fourth, we went to our annual BBQ up in the Hollywood Hills, where regular attendee, actor Norman Lloyd held court at 104-years old.
Are you prepared for an earthquake or another emergency? Please leave a comment below.