Emergency Services and Events

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Funny how the media (even the social media) can play things up for their own benefit.

Yesterday I saw a tweet by none other than WhaleOil - yes, that notorious blogger - supporting a video published by 'joegreenz' that's now in the view of the New Zealand Herald.

I watched the video and formed my own opinion; in no way is what transpired, as bad as is being made out. In fact I can't help but think that the 'anti-police' sentiments are tainting folks viewpoint, a little.

Infact there's several rebuttal points:

- the 'Drifting' referenced doesn't seem to exist. There is no drifting I see in that clip - perhaps folks should actually investigate what drifting is, before throwing the term around.

- Yes there was some driving fairly close to a bouncy castle and other such things. The speeds being travelled when in close to the bouncy castle are not that unreasonable.

- A large open field was being used, with the two cars keeping well away from eachother. The vehicles were under the full, positive control of trained drivers (Police actually undergo professional driver training; how many regular folks do?) - and the speeds weren't that horrific.

- I'd like to draw comparison with the concept of a 'Grasskhana':

The above images (sourced from http://toyspeed.blakjak.net/grasskhana) go to show that i've done the Grass thing before, at least. I wonder if any of those posting negatively about the 'offending' video clip have done so?

My first response to the video and a coupla tweets was to post on the Youtube clip that I thought the reaction was OTT, for the above reasons.

This morning not only has it hit the Herald, but the Youtube comments left by both myself and several others have been deleted, and the feature disabled.

Why, just because the majority of posts (as at ~1am this morning) were supportive of the cops, and in agreement with my view?

Sorry but this doesn't wash. You can't hide from opposing view, especially a majority, in order to make your sensationalism 'play' more to the public. This is yet another 'nothing' being blown out of proportion by a vocal minority, for publicity and hype. Even the NZHerald Tweet "Video: Film footage of two police cars skidding on a schoolground within metres of a children's bouncy castle" is OTT - was there actually skidding of any significance in proximity to the bouncy castles? Or when we talk 'metres' do we meantens or hundreds of?

Who woulda thunk it?

My eyes are rolling!!

Nevermind that I still see folks flouting this law; I will be seriously interested to see if NZ has seen a reduction in cellphone related accidents.
Actually, i'm also interested to see if said accidents are accurately reported; expect that with the new law, folks wont be admitting it!!

Stuff has yet another article on XT's recent failure but a couple of things stick out:

Wellington sisters Leigh and Nikki Maetzig said when their mother became ill with a stomach condition near the Basin Reserve on Wednesday night, her calls to them did not get through. She was eventually able to ring an ambulance and was taken to Wellington Hospital.

Did the woman try to flag down a passing motorist? Was she in a state where she could walk to a nearby property and ask for a landline call to be made? Was this a pre-existing condition?

Severe enough for an Ambulance, likely means severe enough to take steps beyond simply trying your own cellphone, and looking failure in the face for an hour!. Of course, if she was trapped in her car and doubled over in pain, perhaps this isn't so cut and dried; it's certainly reasonable to expect that if you own a cellphone, it should be a fair contingency for a situation such as this, though i'd love to know more detail of the background...

... And desperate relatives looking for missing Nelson teenager Leo Lipp-Neighbours, last seen on Sunday, said the outage made it impossible to call some searchers, hampering efforts to find him.

Coordinated search was it? There's a reason that SAR prefer radio comms to cellphones in a lot of circumstances! Again, whilst a cellphone is useful, XT's outage should've been an inconvenience but not a major.

Of course, the fact that it was an inconvenience at all is a major problem for Telecom. As the article cites, people expect a degree of reliability in a cellular network - especially when they pay big money and sign an agreement of service.

Yes, there's the usual 'act of God' type exclusions but XT's had more than it's share of problems of late.

A recent conversation on Twitter revealed that several XT users find the need to retain a Vodafone or 2Degrees Prepay as a 'backup'.

I on the other hand have Vodafone as my primary and though I do have a CDMA (Telecom's pre-XT legacy network) prepay, that's more through good luck than good planning (twas a freebie many moons ago) and thus far I don't think i've ever had to use it. Maybe once in 6+ years?

Nice to know it's there, of course. I try to travel with at least two means of communication, if i'm at any risk and/or it's any distance. Of course, Amateur Radio makes that easy.

[EDIT: Funny ad being run by Vodafone in response to Telecom's XT FAIL. As Tweeted by @DomHarvey of The Edge Radio Station... ]

No doubt you've heard about the Attempted Bombing of a US Airliner on Christmas Day and heard in the news all sorts of interesting things; that Al Qaeda have claimed responsibility; that an explosive known as PETN (same stuff the 'shoe bomber' attempted to use) was being carried in the Nigerian Bombers' Underpants; that the bomber was Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, a Nigerian educated in England; that his own Father reported him to the US Embassy in Nigeria due to his increasingly extremist religious views.

You'll also then likely be aware that the response from the TSA in the initial stages was well blogged, and generally ridiculed by the general public (read the responses). Some of the restrictions included additional security checks on all passengers destined to the US, re-screens and more detailed screens on luggage; inability to use in-flight-entertainment in the last hour of the flight; disabling the 'flight view' so passengers can't see where they are; not allowed to use electronic equipment, or even read books, during the last hour (including landing but also in the leadup).

Talk about respond after the horse has bolted?!

Warning. Rant follows.

An old colleague from the Auckland Fire Police, Ross Bay, has been in the news a bit lately; he's just been appointed the Bishop of the Anglican Diocese of Auckland. That is something of a big deal...

The Auckland Fire Police Website covered it early on. But it also made it into the Press - and TV...

Television New Zealand - 6 December (Video)

New Zealand Herald - 7 December (Print Article)

East & Bays Courier - 9 December (via stuff.co.nz)

New Zealand Herald - 19 December (Interview)

In a fairly short period of time Ross has made a pretty good name for himself; shortly after being appointed the Dean of Auckland (August 2007 - Scoop.co.nz) he was one of the clergy involved in officiating the services for Sir Edmund Hillary (Found a photo from that day, with Ross next to the PM) and also at the service for a police officer who was killed in the line of duty in September 2008.

The fact that Ross is also an officer in the Auckland Volunteer Fire Police has been an item of interest for the media too - I imagine it's not a common thing for members of the clergy to have such a completely different occupation on the side?

Second Alarm Fire not far from home had me tied up for a few hours.


Image from the article above - NZ Herald.

Many will be aware of the case of the woman who handed her keys over to the Police to prevent her from driving drunk - and in response, the cops doing her for DUI.

Interestingly though, the Police did not witness the accused driving drunk.
In fact her story points to the fact that she consumed alcohol whilst stationary, and then handed her keys over.

If the Police didn't witness the offending, how can they do her for the offence? Or is this too simplistic?

My Headline makes more sense than the one used at Stuff.co.nz.

The young driver was distracted - reportedly by an impending Exam - enough to completely miss warning lights, bells, etc, and drive into the path of a (fortunately slow moving) train.

Illustrates here that distraction is the cause of a substantial number of MVA's. (And perhaps illustrates why the Cellphone laws are somewhat pointless... ??)

Make people culpable for their own distraction!!

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