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Modern Parenthood

Maine earthquake rattles mom into preparedness (sort of).

The 4.0 Maine earthquake that rattled homes throughout New England, convinced our mom blogger that a little preparedness – extra diapers, for example, and a working flashlight – might be in order for quakes as well as snow storms.

By / October 17, 2012

The Maine earthquake on Oct. 16, 2012, rattled our mom blogger into some preparedness. While she's not going as far as these Tokyo first graders, shown here in a 1999 file photo, she is definitely getting some extra diapers and a working flashlight.



Here in my new home state of Massachusetts we don’t usually have to worry about earthquakesDrivers, yes. Snow, definitely. But ground tremors that shake the house and send pictures rattling off the wall?  Not so much.

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is a longtime Monitor correspondent. She lives in Andover, Mass. with her husband, her two young daughters, a South African Labrador retriever and an imperialist cat..

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So last night, as I sat in my home office and wondered whether a helicopter was actually about to land on our house, and then whether it was possible that a rare earthquake was hitting New England (yup), I had a revelation:

I had carefully put those little plastic thingies into all of our electrical outlets, I had cleared the living room of sharp corners and tippable furniture, I had even installed a dubious plastic strip that is supposed to keep our oven closed to little prying toddler fingers. But I was totally, completely, unprepared for taking care of our family in a natural disaster.  I actually had to do visualization exercises to figure out whether something heavy could fall on my daughter in her crib. 

(Nope. Point 1 for Mommy! I thought. Until I read on some earthquake preparedness websites that cribs should not be placed near a window where children can be hurt by broken glass. Sigh.) 

So bring on the parental guilt.  And, once again, the feeling of panic that, despite regular admonitions from the Red Cross, the Centers for Disease Control, the National Center for Disaster Preparedness – even the ASPCA, for goodness sake – we have no Plan. Not even a working flashlight.

Sure, last night’s quake, which the U.S. Geological Survey says was centered in Lake Arrowhead, Maine and measured in at a 4.0 magnitude, might have seemed like child’s play to those tectonic veterans over on the West Coast. And the fact that it was one of the biggest quakes here in decades might make you think that I could relax in my preparedness slackerdom.

But no. Check out this info from the Geological Survey’s website: 

“Earthquakes pose significant risk to 75 million Americans in 39 states,” it reads. Significant risk! A phrase to get the helicopter parent in all of us churning.


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