Earthquake #1 for me was on July 16, 2010 - the house shook for a few seconds in the early morning. No big deal I got up and went to work. I thought it might have been an earthquake and the car radio confirmed it. No worries.
Earthquake #2 August 23, 2011 - I was downtown DC in my office on a conference call. It felt like someone was shaking the back of my chair. I didn't know what was going on there was a pause in the shaking then the 11 story stone building started shaking - by now someone on the call had said Earthquake and I thought well yes it is. I didn't scream or run I was more curious - but at the same time my legs were shaking and I swear my knees were knocking together as I stood up to look out the window. I could see people coming out of the building across the street. They did not seem to be in a hurry. So I hung up from the call and went to find my co-workers who were looking out the window bewildered. While we all knew what happened we had no idea what to do.
One of the managers came over and said I think we should leave the building so we did. By that time people knew that it was a 5.8 earthquake (the folks with iPads had information). But being East Coasters we had no idea what that meant or what to do. I called my husband he was OK. All the neighbors came out of their houses wondering what to do. After that brief call phone service went down for a while. I stood in the shade, bought a bottle of water from a street vendor and sat on the steps of my building. After about 30 minutes of trying to decide if I should get on the Metro - I decided to take a chance. What made up my mind was the thousands of people standing in the park and walking in the streets. The Metro was open - I waited a very long 8 minutes for the train and got on. It was crowded and could only go 15 miles an hour but it was moving. Every time it stopped in a tunnel I worried - especially when it went under the river. When we got above ground I felt much better.
There was damage to buildings all around Virginia but no loss of life. We were about 80 miles away from the center of the earthquake in Mineral, Virginia. I now know the first thing you are supposed to do in an earthquake is get under something and get away from windows. I will be better prepared next time. . .