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Opinion: The earthquake reminded me I’m not alone in my basement

FILE -- Candy Whisler hugs her scared dog Athena and grandson Paris Whisler after a 5.7 magnitude earthquake centered in Magna hit on Wednesday, March 18, 2020. Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News

I’ve been broadcasting Utah’s Morning News (and A Woman’s View Sundays) on KSL Newsradio for a year now from my basement. I have a small studio there. During this year, it’s become easy to feel alone sometimes. It’s a room in a basement, after all. My only company is my dog. (Not to demean the quality of Molly’s company, which is actually quite awesome.)

On this morning a year ago when the 5.7 magnitude earthquake hit, I remember wondering, “Will the house ever stop shaking? Is this the end? Are my boys okay?”

Tim and I used to have each other up on FaceTime so we could see each other during the morning show. That morning, I saw him bolt from the studio. That didn’t help me feel secure.

So, I started watching the text line, and hundreds of texts flooded in. 

We’re not alone

“I felt it in South Jordan. I thought something hit the house.”

“It knocked pictures off the wall in Salt Lake. Is everybody ok?”

“My kids are so scared? What happened? How big was it?”

“I was stuck on the freeway. I’ve never felt my truck move like that before. I thought it was going to go up in the air.”

“Are you guys ok there? We felt it up at HAFB.”

For the first two minutes before Tim and the crew came back in the building, I wished so much that they had left my microphone on. I wished I could have shared with everyone what KSL texters were seeing and sharing. I wish I could have reassured them that we were not alone, that we were okay. We did just that for the rest of the morning as soon as the crew came back into Broadcast House. We shared hundreds of texts and calls. I bet we received thousands before 9:00.

What I learned that day, in addition to get earthquake insurance and keep sturdy shoes and a flashlight next to the bed, is that we really are connected and there for each other.

I learned what a wonderful part KSL plays in this family picture. I’ve been grateful for this radio station I call home for a variety of reasons over the 30 years I’ve been here, but a year ago today it was because when an emergency happens, Utahns come here to learn and to help each other. I trust that will always be.

I know that will always be.

Reflecting on lessons learned, new information one-year after Utah earthquake

How to prepare home and family for an earthquake

What to do during an earthquake: Here’s what the experts say

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