Where were you and what were you doing when the Earthquake hit?

Where were you and what were you doing when the Earthquake hit?

Are you ready for the next emergency?

Please share your story.

By Joseph P. Cirone
Joint Base Anacostia-Bolling
Public Affairs Officer

As a certified emergency manager, firefighter and public affairs officer, I am ready for almost any crisis – at least the best I can be. I have a 72-hour emergency kit and the necessary first aid and other emergency training to help myself and others.

How about you? Would you be interested in a first aid and/or CPR course being held at JBAB or in the nearby community if we offered one (a reasonable charge is made by the American Red Cross for the materials, books and certification cards).

Do you know what to do in an emergency – the general rules that apply to most situations? If not, what can we do to get them to you and others – use Facebook, our base newspaper, a podcast?

Do you know what should be in a 72-hour emergency kit?

What’s your story? We want to have a conversation here on JBAB’s Facebook – just what social media is all about!

Here’s mine…

At the time the quake hit, I was going from the Chief Master Sgt. Of the Air Force’s office, following a meeting there to another meeting in the building (the third of the day there).

I had planned to have lunch (late) after the last meeting, but neither the meeting nor my intake of food or beverage happened.

As a Firefighter/EMT (my “other career”), my first instinct was to see if anyone needed help, since I was unaware what was causing the emergency. Like many, I thought the worst. When I saw no rubble, debris, smoke, flames or other signs of people needing my help, I continued my evacuation along with other people.

Once outside, I headed for my car, parked some distance away, so I can get to a news radio station and gather facts on what was going on. Quickly, I heard an National Public Radio host mention a 5.9 magnitude earthquake hit the area.

I tried numerous times to get a cell call through to my office at JBAB and some of its personnel, but was unable (overloaded or offline cell systems?.

As I drove back to DC (encountering bumper-to-bumper traffic in spots as people were rushing out of the Pentagon, Crystal City, DC and other areas), I finally connected with a Navy Lt. who works with me.

News reports on the radio; fire and rescue info on my two-way radios and reports coming from two news media pagers I use, gave me a pretty good idea of what was going on throughout the area. The text link with the Navy Lt. at JBAB, gave me the info I need about our Public Affairs (PA) staff and their efforts as well as an initial report on what was happening at the base, so I could formulate an action plan.

I reported to our installation’s Emergency Operations Center, joining one of our Air Force PA enlisted staff members and other representatives of the JBAB command and support staff, which make up the Incident Management Team, coordinated by the JBAB Emergency Manager.

After leaving the EOC at 7:30 p.m. and finally arriving home around 9 p.m., after stopping for “lunch” (finally) at 8:30 p.m., I my house appeared to be undamaged (I need to check better tonight), but I found a few to as many as a handful of items in every room of the two story home, plus the garage, knocked down to the floor. That includes a table fan, canned goods and heavier objects. I’m glad it wasn’t worse.

I hope you will share your story. We may even use some of it in our base paper or online, so be sure to include your name and if at JBAB, your service branch and unit. If in the nearby community, let us know what city or section of the city you live in.

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One Response to Where were you and what were you doing when the Earthquake hit?

  1. Angela says:

    I was in my home on JBAB, working upstairs when I felt a quick jolt. I heard garbage trucks outside and initially thought one had backed into our row of townhouses. Then, as the shaking continued, I realized it was an earthquake. My first instinct was to get my two bulldogs to a safe place. I flew down the stairs, found them barking at the front door and yelled at them to follow me to the backyard. They are usually very stubborn but in this situation, they were pushing each other (and me!) aside, to get out. By the time we stepped onto the patio, the shaking had stopped. I read later that it was only 10 to 15 seconds long. It’s amazing how much can happen in a few short seconds!

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