Daily Archives: 16 October 2006

Shaking Sunday

Well, that was some Sunday. I was already up, had read the paper, had breakfast, and was getting
ready to go to Longs Drug store when at 7:08 a.m., the house starting
shaking. Having gone through these things before while an undergraduate
in California, I knew immediately it was an earthquake.

The first shock got over pretty quickly and everything seemed okay. But a few minutes later, you could
hear a low frequency rumble and the house began to really shake.
Nothing fell off the wall or broke but this one ran for a good 20 or 30
seconds and shook things pretty good. Shortly after that, the
electricity failed.

As we would soon see, it was the power failure that would cause the most problems. Without power,
there was no way of knowing what was happening elsewhere. Even when we
got our battery powered transistor radio going the only station still on the air was
broadcasting a taped interview on one of the Constitutional amendments
on the ballot in November.

For about 30 more minutes, the interview ran until someone finally broke in and went live with the
first of what would be a long day of reports. At that point, if I remember right, basically they could only confirm that a magnitude six point something (it would change a couple of times during the coming
hours) earthquake had occurred off of the Big Island of Hawaii. Power
was out at least on O’ahu (later reports would state power was out on
many, if not all, of the other islands).

Communications via land line and cell phones quickly became overloaded as everyone tried calling to
let others know their condition or to find out how others where. Through much of the morning, phone service was difficult (if not impossible for some cell phone users and all digital voice over IP
customers) but cleared by noon or so for land line customers.

I got our battery powered TV going and found two stations broadcasting. One was the Japanese
language station so that was of no use (especially since they were
broadcasting their normal Sunday morning shows). The other was
broadcasting an re-run of the University of Hawaii football game held
the day before. Except for an occasional and very brief cut in the
station was of no use for emergency information and we had to wait for
their five p.m. news to get anything of value.

Power did not return for us until about 11:11 p.m., almost exactly 16 hours after it failed. Due to
the outage, all the food in out refrigerator had to be thrown out. But
otherwise, we had no other losses.

It’s times like these that reminds us that we need to be prepared. Whether the danger is an
earthquake, hurricane, or other disaster, everyone should be prepared.
Some items you may wish to have at the ready (in no particular order):

  • Land line phone service with a phone that does not require external power (Other than that provided
    via the phone line itself. In other words, no cordless/wireless phones.).

  • Cash, since the ATMs won’t be working and you may need to purchase something.

  • Portable, battery powered radio.

  • Flashlights.

  • Extra batteries sufficient to last three to five days of almost continuous use.

  • Manual can opener.

  • First aid kit and any medications you need.

  • A three to five day supply of non-perishable food (especially the kind that doesn’t require cooking) and water.

  • Gas grill or camp stove with enough fuel for the same three to five days.

  • Candles.

  • Matches or lighter in a water proof container.

Needless to say, you need to learn how to safely use some of the above items because you don’t want to injure yourself or burn down your home. So, a word to the wise – read, understand, and follow all safety precautions that may apply to the items. Secondly, do a dry run and see how things work and what else you may need. Each situation is different but if you have a general disaster kit ready before the disaster strikes you will be much better off than those people who rush to the store afterwards. YMMV. Insert disclaimer here.