Are you prepared for an earthquake?

You never experienced an earthquake before, but have you thought that it might surprise you in your next destination?

With just 2 weeks left of our Thailand adventure I thought that we accomplished almost everything we could wish for in this country. Therefore, the earthquake came as an unexpected (and unwelcome) bonus.

I am not very familiar with earthquakes. Somehow, I managed to avoid earthquake-prone areas for the most part of my life. Nevertheless, I did experience it once in some unlikely place – the US capital, Washington DC, in 2011. It was not very strong, just barely noticeable 5.2. It took a while to realize what was happening, and I felt more curious than scared.

Today it was different. This time it was 6.0 earthquake that occurred 77 miles (124 km) NE of Chiang Mai. I was on the 4th floor sitting in a chair. Suddenly, I felt like the chair was trying to sway underneath me. Next, the whole building started shaking. That’s when a thought about possible earthquake crossed my mind. With our TV violently squeaking and swaying, AT started urging me to get outside. By then it was over.

Frankly, I am not proud of my reaction. In hindsight, I did not take the situation seriously. I remember reading about Chilean earthquakes and how Chileans used to having almost weekly drills and training about what to do in case disaster strikes. It was impressive and definitely saved many lives.

Traveling around the world takes us to different places, and it is our own responsibility to research and be prepared for potential disasters. Honestly, so far it slipped through the cracks. I do have a medical kit (the usual stuff: bandaid, some antibiotic ointment, painkillers, etc…) that travels with us everywhere, but no contingency plans. Today was a wake up call and I off onto my favorite pastime: research. This would be the next update of our Travel Resources: emergency preparedness.

In the meantime, courtesy of the US Embassy in Bangkok tweet, here is the advice from FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) what to do before, during and after a quake.

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