Scared stiff when quake strikes

Central Otago Mirror - - NEWS -

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.

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