Last night we experienced what most people consider to be an earthquake. With a magnitude of 5.6 and an epicenter in the heart of Santiago, this “temblor” rattled everyone awake at 3am. But if you know anything about Spanish you will realize that “temblor” is not “terremoto” and therefore not translated as “earthquake”. The word used to describe last night’s events is different for good reason: it wasn’t considered an earthquake. Chile lies on a fault line and experiences more than 6 seismic events every day. All houses are “earthquake proof” meaning they can withstand the ground shaking up to a 9 on the Richter Scale. In Chile, seismic activity is not considered to be an earthquake until it reaches an 8 on the Richer Scale. However, an earthquake of the same level as last night would have completely destroyed almost any city in the USA. But here in Chile, we do things a little differently. Here is a comprehensive list of how to experience an earthquake like a Chilean.
- Don’t panic
- Stand up- If you can physically stand up and stay that way for 30 seconds or so, it is NOT and earthquake. If you cannot physically stand up because the ground is shaking too much, it is probably an earthquake
- If not an earthquake, calmly wait for shaking to cease and resume daily activities aka sleeping, walking, eating
- If you determine that it is an earthquake
- DO NOT PANIC!!!!
- Open the nearest door
- If in the street, walk to the middle if possible
- If in a building, know that it will not fall (only 2 fell in the entire country with a 8.8 earthquake in 2010 with that technology)
- Know that power may fail- this is normal, do not worry
- Regardless of whether it is an earthquake or not, if near the water, MOVE TO HIGHER GROUND. Shaking earth = shaking water = tsunami!
- Preferably before you lose cell service, tell your parents! They see headlines like the ones listed above and freak out when you’re fine. You just went back to sleep after it.
In other news, we toured some pretty cool places and did some pretty cool things during orientation.