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At 8:30 a.m. on November 30, 2018, a violent 7.0 magnitude earthquake shook Anchorage, Alaska, causing roads to collapse, walls to crack, power lines to fall and people to take cover.

While earthquakes are not uncommon in Alaska, the November tremor was the strongest to hit Alaska since 1964. It caused damage across the region – homes and buildings were damaged, roads and bridges were closed, fires erupted, and 32,000 people were left without power. To compound an already treacherous situation, the weather in Alaska in November can be unpredictable with temperatures frequently reaching subzero and only six to eight hours of daylight.

The Gorlick family of Big Lake, Alaska, a small lakeside community north of Anchorage, was one of the many affected by the powerful quake. Their home’s foundation dropped four inches from the impact. Their 100-foot steel boat dock twisted like a rubber band, and pilings lifted completely out of the frozen lake. Inside the Gorlick's home, pictures flew off the walls, shelves were left damaged or completely destroyed, the refrigerator toppled over, and dozens of family heirlooms and antiques were lost forever. In addition, the earthquake caused hundreds of cracks in the home's walls, left the home with severe foundation issues, and resulted in sidewalks in desperate need of repair.

Despite the damage, the Gorlick’s power remained on with the help of two Cummins 20 kW home generators. One generator protected the home, while the other protected a detached workshop garage. After the earthquake caused the Gorlick's power to go out, the generators did their job and restored power to the home within just 10 seconds. This allowed the family to safely navigate their three-story dwelling, which was littered with glass shards, debris and other objects that would have otherwise made getting out of the house extremely difficult.

Other homes in the area didn't fare as well. Without power, some neighbors suffered from frozen and burst pipes, loss of water due to inoperable wells, and relied on flashlights to navigate in their homes. So the Gorlick's did what any good neighbors would do, opening their doors and providing their neighbors a safe and warm retreat until power was restored.

The two Cummins Home Generators that provided backup power less than 10 seconds after the earthquake hit can be seen just outside the Gorlick's home. 

"I never expected an earthquake, but disasters happen. When the earthquake hit, our Cummins generators did their job flawlessly for nearly 20 hours until the outage was over and utility power was stable," said homeowner Terry Gorlick.

While the initial earthquake happened in November, there have since been multiple aftershocks causing additional outages, and the generators have continued to operate.

"Being able to have heat, lights, the stove and refrigerator – while keeping my family and pets safe and comfortable – was worth every penny I spent."

Unlike hurricanes and snow storms, earthquakes can hit anywhere and without warning, causing fires, tsunamis, landslides, avalanches and infrastructure damage including power outages. A home standby generator, such as a Cummins QuietConnect, turns on automatically to protect your family in the event of a power outage, maintaining power to your entire home or just select appliances, lights, equipment such as sump pumps, wells, heating and air conditioning, and security systems. 

"As the former owner of an industrial company, I’ve used Cummins engines and generators professionally, so when I went to buy a generator for my home, I knew I wanted a Cummins," Gorlick added. "People don’t truly understand the importance of having a strong service and support network standing behind your generator. I was quite impressed with the Cummins distributor throughout the purchase and installation process and am more impressed following the earthquake. The service from Cummins has been fantastic...being a Cummins customer is like being part of the Cummins family."

Take the next steps in protecting your family by scheduling an in-home assessment with a Cummins-authorized dealer today.