Scared stiff when quake strikes
Since the recent earthquake in Wanaka I have been interested to talk with others about their immediate reaction to the tremor.
Many people headed under desks while others got outside. For my part I did nothing and in hindsight my reaction was probably not very smart. I was sitting in my office with a colleague when the quake struck. We simply looked at each other and I think I said something about hoping it wasn’t the ‘big one’ and we just waited it out. Immediately behind my desk is a floor to ceiling bookcase filled with hefty tomes which could have done a bit of damage if they had fallen on me.
Why didn’t I move and when would I have finally moved? I’m not really sure but I do know that I’m not alone in feeling pretty helpless.
If there’s a fire generally you can see it and your immediate reactions are usually guided by the size of it. You may be in a panic but at least you’re doing something – either getting out, calling the Fire Brigade or trying to put it out.
With a storm you usually know it’s coming and can batten down the hatches, locate the candles and ride it out.
But it seems to me that when it comes to earthquakes Mother Nature is in full control. There is no real warning and there is simply no way of telling how bad it will be.
I thought I’d done everything right. My wife and I have an emergency box at home, which we keep updated, and I always try to keep the fuel tank on the car more full than empty.
Then when a quake finally hits I just sit there like a stunned mullet waiting for a tonne of books to fall on my head. Hopefully next time I’ll be either under the desk or out the door. ◗ Ed Taylor is general manager of Warbirds Over Wanaka and reckons Wanaka is the best place in the world to live.