The Northridge Earthquake of '94



Krish Malhotra

The Northridge Earthquake of ‘94

At 4:31 am, on January 17 1994, a massive earthquake hit the San Fernando Valley. The quake was caused by a rupture in an undocumented blind thrust fault. This earthquake had a magnitude of 6.7. Many building across the downtown area violently shook and collapsed as this disaster took place. Even parts of major freeways collapsed. Thousands were injured and 57 people were killed. At an apartment complex 16 people were killed all on the first floor because of the quake. And a police officer died from falling off a destroyed freeway.

“The earthquake happened so suddenly, I had no idea what to do,” said my Grandmother, who is an anesthesiologist and was on a night call at work when the quake took place. “The Northridge Earthquake was one of the most scariest moments in my life.” My Grandma says. “It felt like a normal night at work. A young man was in the operating room about to get surgery on his injured hand. I was about to administer an anesthetic to him when suddenly the operating room started violently shaking. The overhead lights were rattling, the operating table started shaking, the surgery instruments fell off the table and the patient screamed ‘Oh my God, an earthquake!’ and he got up from the table, pulled out his I.V and ran out of the room. And until this day, I’ve never seen that man again.” My Grandmother said.

“During the quake, I felt scared, I thought that the building was going to collapse on me and I would be buried alive. To stay alive, I hid under the operating table. Even though the shaking only lasted for about a minute, it felt like an eternity. Everyone had to evacuate the building. The building was damaged a lot but didn’t collapse. It had cracks and shattered windows but it still stood. The first thing I did after the quake was hug my entire family. I was happy to know that I survived a massive earthquake and lived to tell the tale.” My Grandmother finished.

“I think because an earthquake comes without warning, that one should always be prepared for this natural disaster and should have regular drills to protect yourself. I would have a supply of water, food, and clothing in your car, garage, or wherever you can. The best thing to do is buy an earthquake survival kit and keep that with you at all times. So, the next time an earthquake happens, everyone should be prepared.” After having heard about what my Grandmother told me about the earthquake, I have to always be prepared because you never know when the next big one is going to hit.