"Oh, earthquake. I should get under my desk."
Which I do.
And I just keep talking on the phone.
After a few more seconds, I realize this is silly, tell the rep that I'm having an earthquake, so sorry, but I'll have to hang up now.
Since my work is with residence halls, it was crisis management for the next few hours. I *love* that! It's strange, maybe even a little twisted, but that's one of my favorite parts of my work. We got everything evacuated, inspected, and re-opened for occupancy in just over an hour. We had some indoor cracks in some of the buildings, but that's normal: in an earthquake, buildings like this will crack, it's just a question of whether they crack right or crack wrong.
We learned a lot about our emergency procedures, what works and what doesn't, etc. My biggest surprise was that my Nextel radio/phone, which was purchased primarily for emergency communication, promptly transforms into a combination paperweight/inert chunk of plastic in the event of an earthquake. Apparently there's only one switch for their whole system, which they shut down in these cases. Good to know.
A few phone calls from frantic parents; it's nice to talk to them when you have nothing but good news. Students were very cooperative and flexible, which may have been a result of having the living beejeezus scared out of them. Hopefully we will have their attention when we talk about emergency procedures in the future.
A footnote: One of the reasons I was so calm was that I knew it was going to happen. It's a precognitive instinct I've had since I was a kid: something inside my gut just knows when things are going to happen sometimes. This morning before work I heard a report of a small quake near Wenatchee, and it clicked that a quake was coming.
Unfortunately, I still have a knot in my stomach that won't go away for some reason. Something still doesn't feel right. I hope it's nothing.