Where were you during the Nisqually earthquake?

Sunday, March 27, 2011

by Diane Hettrick, Editor

What was your experience during the Nisqually earthquake and would the King County Office of Emergency Management (OEM) advice (Drop-Cover-Hold) have applied to your situation?

I was on the 4th floor of a downtown Seattle office building. It was built in 1910, only eight stories high and I figured it had weathered many earthquakes, so I wasn't worried about the building collapsing.  I was a little concerned about the Columbia Center falling on us.

However, finding a safe spot was a more immediate concern. Our office was blessed with a lot of large windows, many of which were breaking.

The office furniture was attacking. The top drawers of every desk all shot open. The top drawer of every file cabinet fully extended. I think some of them went in and out a couple of times. So crawling under a desk was not an option since I would have been whacked by the drawers or smacked by a file cabinet on the way. And I'm not sure that any office furniture qualifies as "sturdy."

I went immediately for a doorway, as I had been taught - wrongly, according to the OEM. Part-way through the quake, it occurred to me that the doorway I was bracing myself against was a flimsy partition wall for an interior office and wouldn't protect me against anything, but at least it was mid-point between the breaking windows and the attacking file drawers.

It was a good thing I didn't attempt to leave the building as the most damage was to the stairways at each end of the building.


Carl Dinse March 27, 2011 at 12:38 PM  

I was in the auditorium at Shorewood High school. Wasn't anyplace to take cover under in that room. I just waited it out and hoped the building didn't cave in.

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