Return to Ridgecrest: PTSD from aftershocks

Return to Ridgecrest

Six months after magnitude 6.4 and 7.1 earthquakes rocked the Ridgecrest area, the shaking has not stopped.

According to the U.S. Geological Survey, there have been more than 43,000 aftershocks since the July 4th quakes.

One thousand have been between magnitude 3.0 and 3.9, more than 100 have been between 4.0 and 4.9, and six have been between 5.0 and 5.9.

Seismologists say a magnitude 7.0 usually has aftershocks that last for years.

Ridgecrest parents are now faced with preparing their kids as they recover themselves.

“My body just goes into panic mode, and my heart starts racing, and it’s hard to breathe,” said Ridgecrest mother of four, Bethany Rubino. “It doesn’t matter how rational I try to be about it. (I have to) think about how can I protect my kids and know that there really isn’t any way to protect them.”

Rubino’s kids range from ages four to nine.

They all have different responses to the aftershocks.

“Quinzio will say, ’emergency, emergency,’ and go down into a little bug,” she said of her four-year-old son.

“Gianni and Vinny will kind of like freeze,” she added about her seven and nine-year-olds.

Some in Ridgecrest have become accustomed to frequent and sudden shaking.

“We’ve all gotten pretty wise at hearing those and knowing that it’s coming,” said Ridgecrest mayor Peggy Breeden. “There’s not much you can do about it.”

Others, like the Rubinos, are living on edge.

People in mobile homes feel especially unstable.

“Maybe to you it’s just a little one, but to me, it means I could either lose my home or give me a heart attack,” said mobile home resident, Bridget Scoggan.

For now, there may be a lot of ‘little ones.’

However, people wonder if, or when, the long-awaited ‘big one’ may hit.

“We’re prepared for another 7.1, but they talk about an 8.0 or higher, and there’s no way you can prepare for that,” said Pastor Terry Morrison. “We have some bags we can grab and go, but that’s assuming we can actually go.”

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