Gorlick family home



Alaskan Family Safely Endures 7.0 Magnitude Earthquake with Help from Cummins Generators

At 8:30 a.m. on November 30, 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 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 6-8 hours of daylight.

The Gorlick family of Big Lake, 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 home, pictures flew off the walls, numerous shelves tipped over and were destroyed, the refrigerator toppled over, and dozens of family heirlooms and antiques were destroyed. Hundreds of cracks in the walls, foundation issues and sidewalks will need repair. The fear of reoccurring earthquakes haunted the family afterward.

Despite the damage, the Gorlick’s power remained on with the help of two Cummins 20 kW home generators. One generator protected the home and the other a detached workshop garage. Within 10 seconds after the quake caused the Gorlick’s power to go out, the generators restored power, allowing the family to safely navigate their 3-story home that was now littered with glass shards and debris.

Their neighbors didn’t fare as well. Without power, they suffered from frozen and burst pipes, loss of water due to inoperable wells, and relied on flashlights to navigate in their homes. The Gorlicks opened their doors to neighbors, providing them a safe and warm retreat until power was restored.

“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.

Since the initial earthquake, there have 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 with no 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,” said Mr. Gorlick. “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.” Mr. Gorlick’s final words to us were “that being a Cummins customer is like being part of the Cummins family.”

Share the Gorlick Family’s experience with potential customers with a link to our latest blog post.

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