A night of terror

A night of terror

I’ve started writing a book on how to survive a disaster. Here’s the first draft of the introduction. Let me know what you think.

Introduction – A night of terror
One morning, very early, I was rudely awoken by a low rumbling sound and a gentle shaking. My eyes snapped open immediately and sat straight up in the bed. A few seconds later, the whole room moved violently, crazily, for what seemed like forever. I pushed my wife out of the bed onto the floor, and watched and the furniture seemingly came alive and started dancing all over the apartment.

It was amazing, how much everything moved. The kitchen table moved six feet, seemingly possessed by a demon; the bookshelves rocked back and forth like they were drunk; the coffee table somehow found itself another room. Books became missiles, CD’s became dangerous flying things threatening to kill or maim anyone in their path. The refrigerator moved clear across the floor to the other side of the room, spilling the contents everywhere. Glasses and plates tumbled out of the shelves in the kitchen, shattering all across the floor, causing glass to fly everywhere.

It seemed as if the Mad Hatter had taken control of our apartment and the normal laws of physics were voided for those few moments of time. Some invisible insane person tossed all of our belongings all over, willy-nilly, without care as to whom or what was damaged.

This was one of the most terrifying 20 seconds of my life. Luckily, there was no damage to either of us or the apartment itself, and besides some broken dishes and a few CDs nothing was destroyed.

But our son was missing. My wife, Claudia, jumped up after the earth stopped moving, screaming out his name. She ran, barefoot, into his room, and then ran out seconds later in a complete panic. He was not in his bed; he was not in the bedroom. In fact, he was not in the apartment at all. My wife, until that moment the perfect definition of sanity, went literally insane, screaming where was her son, yelling that I needed to do something, looking under things, running (again barefoot) outside screaming his name.

Claudia didn’t notice, until a short time later, that she had run, barefoot, over the broken glass in the kitchen, and had badly cut up her feet. We didn’t even have a first aid kit, and if we had it would probably have been buried underneath all the junk that fell out of the bookshelves. I had to use towels and scotch tape to bind up her feet and stop the bleeding.

We found our son the next day, after a full 24 hours of stress and insanity. He had decided, as he often did, to put on his headphones and walk around the neighborhood. He was a couple of miles from home, in downtown Hollywood, when the earthquake struck, and soon found himself in the midst of a terrified crowd of people in complete blackness. The power went out immediately, and he was stranded, miles from home, with no way to contact us, with no food, no water and only a few dollars in his pocket.
These days I think back to those terrifying seconds, some twenty years before, and I shudder at how unready we were for a disaster. We were relatively normal people leading normal lives. We believed we were prepared for emergencies.

As events proved, we were completely unprepared, and like virtually everyone else, we hadn’t taken the time to become aware of our surroundings, to educate ourselves, to plan for and to rehearse for emergencies, to purchase emergency supplies and to properly prepare our environment and ourselves for anything that might happen.

Like most people on this planet, we were asleep. We were unaware of our environment around us. We had no idea where we were in relation to everything else. Thus when the disaster hit, we didn’t know what to do, where to go, and what options were available. This left us helpless and terrified.

Because we were unaware of the environment, we had no idea where or how to get help, or even if help was available. We didn’t know the location of the fire department, and since the phones stopped working we didn’t have any way to communicate with anyone outside of our immediate area. We had no understanding of the city’s emergency plans, and no idea of what help, if any, they could provide.

We had not taken the time to become educated about survival, about our surroundings, about emergencies and preparedness. Thus, during and after the disaster we had to wing it, to figure out what to do as we muddled along. This left us vulnerable.

We hadn’t even thought about disasters, much less made any plans or purchased any supplies. We didn’t even have a first aid kit, not even one of those almost useless ten dollar kits from the drug store. We didn’t have a flash light, extra batteries, bottled water or extra food.

It’s a wonder we survived at all.

If you follow the steps in this book, and understand the concepts, you will be better prepared for any disaster, from a simple car accident all the way to a major earthquake or a hurricane.

This is Copyright © Richard Lowe Jr

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