It was January 1994 and the jolt woke us with a start. Earthquake…a big one! We leaped out of bed. I remember the noise, the total confusion and the pain as our china cabinet struck me on the back and broken glass went everywhere. I remember seeing that my girlfriend had taken a hit from a lamp and was already showing a huge knot on her head. We had to struggle to open the door because the building was literally collapsing and warping around us. We screamed for our neighbors to help us, and together we got the door to open.
For the next few minutes, everything is chaos in my memory, and then we were in the parking lot. No more screaming, no more terror of a building coming down on us, and clearly no more home to go to.
Barefoot, bleeding and wearing only sweatpants, I realized we needed medical care. At the hospital, we were turned away because we weren’t critical. I could see that the nurses weren’t lying. It was a nightmare.
Heading to my sister’s home, our hopes were dashed when we saw she had lost everything too. The only place for us was the bare lot, a collection of grass and dirt, across the street from her home. We camped there for the next three days, and thankfully the people who did not suffer total losses helped us out.
Without their first aid supplies, water, clothing, food and even their barbecue, we would never had made it through. These people were truly a godsend.
And then what? I waited for three weeks after my FEMA inspection [where the inspector was clearly incompetent] to receive my letter for relocation assistance. I was declined. I was declined even though the building was “red tagged” and collapsed!
I wish there was a book like this back then! I could have read it to educate myself about how FEMA worked, and may have spared myself some major headaches. It would have been real helpful to know before an earthquake that I should have secured the china cabinet to the wall, never hang pictures over my bed and so much more.
If I had Robert’s book, I would have known how to deal with #FEMAinspectors and even FEMA itself. Instead of housing assistance alone, I would have known how to appeal and to get money for my personal property. I would have kept every receipt, deducted losses from my taxes and so much more.
Don’t be a “shoulda, woulda, coulda” person like me. Buy this book, use the advice on every page, and prepare yourself for disasters and the even worse disasters that sometimes follow.