THE NORTH RIDGE DISASTER

THE NORTH RIDGE DISASTER

Alyssa Schiller

5A History

“It felt like the earth was going to open up and eat me.” Today I am interviewing my mom in what earthquake she was in. She was in the North Ridge earthquake in 1994. The time of the earthquake was about 4:30am and lasted about 10-20 seconds. It was the highest ever instrumentally recorded earthquake in an urban area in North America. It had a moment magnitude of 6.7 which was followed by two aftershocks and both measuring in at 6.0. One was approximately 1 minute later and the other one was about 11 hours later. The death toll was 57, with more than 5,000 injured. The damage costs was between $13 billion and $40 billion, making it one of the costliest natural disasters in U.S history.


My mom was living in an apartment in Burbank and was in the process of buying the house we live in right now! She remembers waking up in the middle of the night with the bed shaking badly. She immediately jumped out of bed and ran to the door way. She held on to the door jam until the shaking stopped. She remembered learning in school to look for the closet door jam and hold on during earthquake drills. It seemed like the shaking was forever. After the shaking stopped she tried to turn on a light but the electricity was out. She searched for a flashlight, got dressed and left the apartment as fast as she could. Her car was parked underground, but with the electricity off, the gate would not open. Luckily, my dad figured out how to open it manually so everyone could leave the apartment.


My mom returned to the apartment later that day to see the damage. She was shocked to find only one thing broken. She thought that everything in her apartment would be broken because of how bad and long the shaking was. She said she was super scared because she had only moved to California a couple of years ago and never experienced an earthquake before. She was also nervous and scared and it was hard for her to sleep at night because she had nightmares about potential aftershocks. She still has occasional nightmares and wakes up wondering if the bed is moving even after all of these years.


Since the Northridge earthquake, my mom has done more to prepare in case of another earthquake. She keeps flashlights in every room and in the garage, we have 5 gallon containers full of water, extra food, clothing, radio, blankets, and batteries. We also printed out a list of things to gather in the house that are important and valuable. Her biggest suggestion is to try to stay calm in an earthquake. This will allow you to think better.