The following is a personal account of an event which never took place…but could - By Chuck Wallace
In the middle of a lunchtime phone call to my wife I am suddenly jolted and thrust to the floor violently. Everything begins to shake and tumble off my office desk. Pictures fall off the walls of my office as the light fixture on the ceiling detaches and bounces off my head and shoulder as I try to crawl under my desk. Panic nearly paralyzes me from thinking and reacting.
I hear people in my building crying out and screaming. I’m unable to make out their words because of the thunderous rumbling noises and the sound of my building creaking and grinding as the ground heaves it to and fro with me in it. I hear the crash of falling glass as the windows shatter.
It seems like forever and it’s still thrashing us about. I feel blood running down my forehead from the gash the light fixture left when it dropped from the ceiling onto my head. I reach for my cell phone to see if my wife is still there but the line is dead. My heart is racing, is she ok? What about my kids? I’m terrorized with the thought that both are alone, without me to help. Are they all ok?
My building begins to tear apart with sections of the roof pulling away and falling to the parking lot below. I cover my head, squeeze myself as deep as I can under my desk and shut my eyes as tight as I can, hoping to will the noise, fear and absolute terror I’m surrounded in to disappear. I hear noises from the outside and realize one of the neighboring buildings is collapsing. Please make it stop!
As the shaking subsides, I begin to move from under the desk when the floor under me drops about 6 feet collapsing over the people on the 1st floor. Battered and bruised, I try to climb out the door to my office but there is so much debris, I decide to drop from the second floor window to the parking lot below. Once outside, I see devastation all around. Injured people begin assembling in the parking lot.
Along the coast, the worst is yet to come. A series of tsunami waves, 30-80 feet high is fast approaching. My home is there, my dog and cats, my friends and neighbors. Will they make it to high ground? Can they make it to safety?
I hear someone shouting for help and I move to render whatever assistance I can. “Help me. Oh please help me” she cries, as I make eye contact with her. She has a broken leg - appearing to have been crushed under a large beam from the building. As I try to free her leg, all I can think about is my family.
Saturday January 26th 2013 at 9pm is the 313th anniversary of the Great Cascadia Earthquake & Tsunami of 1700
Grays Harbor County Emergency Management is urging all citizens to please prepare your family and friends for disaster events. Make plans for communication. Prepare a GO Kit for all members of your family as well as your pets. Understand what your child’s schools emergency plans are. Know the emergency plans of your employer and develop plans for home. If you have a disability and need assistance, NOW is the time to work on a plan to receive assistance. We will likely be separated from loved ones. Plan together to reduce the impact and stress a disaster event will have upon your family and friends.