The LA Times

Grace Hayden

1987 Whittier Narrows Earthquake

“I will never forget the sound, it was like somebody shaking a bag of change for 30 seconds!” - Shana Hayden.

This was the memory my mom had from the earthquake on October 1, 1987 in the greater Los Angeles area. It was called the Whittier Narrows Earthquake. This earthquake was a 5.9 on the richter scale.

I interviewed my mom for this project. This earthquake was at 7:42 am, right before she had to go to school, she was a freshman in highschool. After the quake, school was immediately canceled. My mom was staying at her friend’s house as her parents were out of town for two days, which made things even more scary. My mom said that it sounded like someone was shaking a bag of coins. It felt like the ground was shifting and sliding under you. Her heart sank, she was nervous and scared. She felt so helpless, but luckily my mom and her family and friends were safe.

Her and her friend ran to the archway of the door because it was the safest place. If things fell, the thick wood of the arch above them would protect them, she had heard. Her friend’s TV fell and broke, dishes, books, and glasses on shelves fell and broke. The chimney in my mom’s parents house cracked because it was made out of bricks.

My mom was scared, she didn’t know when the shaking would stop, or when she would be safe. She didn’t know when another aftershock would hit, and how big it would be. She will never forget that Wednesday morning.

My mom’s tips on how to best prepare for another earthquake are, have large pieces of furniture that can fall on you, such as cabinets and bookcases bolted to the wall. Also, have an emergency kit in your garage with protein bars, water, flashlights and batteries. Finally, don’t put glass at the edge of cupboards, where they can easily fall out.