When a wee hours call means tsunami

The phone rang at 4 a.m.

This could only mean one of two things:

  1. Bad news. Don’t answer it.
  2. A ‘computer repair’ scam call from a far away time zone. Don’t answer it.

I answered.

It was my pal Pauline calling from Hawaii. Had we heard about the Alaska earthquake and the resulting tsunami warning? People were being told to move to high ground. Was MrWI64 with me? Were we near the water?


That’s how Jan. 23 started on my piece of the planet.

Happily, we were high and dry. More happily, the predicted tsunami – which could have devastated coastal communities – fizzled.

But certainly the tsunami watch of the wee hours got many of us thinking about how we’ll manage when what’s referred to here as The Big One – a devastating subduction earthquake – hits the Pacific Northwest.

I did a quick mental rundown on the survival resources at hand, in the event we do indeed survive an earthquake:

  • Emergency kit. Check! It contains foil blankets, a first aid kit, matches, and enough freeze dried food to keep us going for a few days. Where did I put it? I wonder if it’s in the basement, or did I shove it in the closet of the spare room?
  • Water. Check! Definitely in the basement and bought in stock-up mode a couple years ago. Or was that five years ago? More? How will it taste?
  • Home preserves. Lots. We’ll have homemade jam – including a divine damson with gin – to share with anyone who stocked up on bread.

Here’s what my emergency kit should contain – at the very least:


Since you might be at work or in your car when the Big One hits, the emergency preparedness office in British Columbia recommends having ready-to-go kits with food, water, medications, first aid, cash, and toiletries in those places too.

I live in a region that will come apart, snap and crumble much like Christchurch, New Zealand did in 2011. I’ve long known this and, still, am woefully underprepared. Not as unprepared as many, but far from prepared enough.

People who live near the ocean in my community did move to higher ground in the wee hours of today. Some received alerts on their smart phones –  apparently there’s an app for that. Emergency service providers awakened others, while friends and family contacted still others, like me.

In all of this, I’m grateful for a couple things: that the tsunami warning was more warning than tsunami, that I have caring friends like Pauline . . . and that the 4 a.m. call wasn’t from a foreign ‘computer repair’ service. Make that three things.


10 Comments Add yours

  1. Thanks for the excellent reminders to be prepared Gery, and for the inspired thinking and gratitude. I hesitated to call but couldn’t get past the ‘what ifs’ that you and Mr WI64 could be at beach level somewhere up the coast, or home, without warning. Thank goodness it fizzled, and when I get home I must update my kits; no more procrastination!


    1. Gery Lemon says:

      Still looking for my kit, Pauline. Thanks, again. Glad you weren’t calling about my computer.


  2. Lloyd says:

    Good article. No matter how much we prepare, we will never be prepared…..enough…at least when “the big one” hits. Materials and logistics are the simple factors to address. Our need to assure loved ones are safe and sound will always generate greater angst and confusion; and it will be the good will and caring and cooperation of those in the same boat, that will provide us float, should the event ever arise.


    1. Gery Lemon says:

      And as a friend pointed out . . . scotch in the emergency supplies.
      Thanks, Lloyd.


  3. Leslie Lundgren says:

    Excellent blog Gery! Checked my emergency food and see we are woefully inadequate and have gotten complacent about it. Back to the plan and update it too.


    Sent from my iPhone



    1. Gery Lemon says:

      Thanks, Les. At least you found yours….:)


  4. rick stevens says:

    I agree! Oddly enough I was just reading a quote from Margaret Thatcher: “It is exciting to have a real crisis on your hands, when you have spent half your political life dealing with humdrum issues like the environment.”


    1. Gery Lemon says:

      MrWI64 is still laughing.
      Can’t tell you how glad I am you follow my blog.


  5. Pauline James Curtis says:

    Hi Gery,

    We made it home yesterday- me with a nasty cold. Need to get rid of it for our trip into the deep freeze- heading to Winnipeg Feb 14th – 20th to balance out the pleasures of Waikiki!

    Glad you didn’t mond the wee hours- phone call. It was a bit of a nail biting time deciding if I should call or not but was worried Graham may have been on Savary Island and never would have forgiven myself if …

    Anyway, its been ages since we’ve done a lunch as we both seem to be flitting a lot here and there. Maybe ’18 will make it happen.

    Take care and keep on writing!



    Liked by 1 person

  6. Gery Lemon says:

    Thank you, my friend. It really has been ages. Let’s work at doing something about it.


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