[opendtv] Re: News: DTV Converter Box announcements

  • From: Craig Birkmaier <craig@xxxxxxxxx>
  • To: opendtv@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Fri, 25 Jan 2008 09:26:46 -0500

At 4:25 PM -0800 1/24/08, Kon Wilms wrote:
I beg to differ, and no doubt all the people I have dealt with at NOAA
and PBS stations would also feel the same way.

Video when used in the format that mass media uses to 'inform' in
times of emergency is indeed useless. But take a situation where you
are not familiar with your surroundings - you're a tourist, or an
emergency worker 'imported' to help deal with the situation. A map on
a TV screen is going to show you more detail in two seconds than a
voice can detail in ten times that amount of time. Plus, the
information is persistent. How do you inform people about a spreading
plume of toxic material for example? Wait.. you don't. Or you stand
there and wait for the alert to repeat itself on the radio.

I live with this every time a storm approaches Florida - and yes we do have a few tourists in the area during Hurricane season. Both tourists and residents flee the area where a storm is expected to impact like rats running from a flood. Most of them drove down I-95, I-75 or the Florida Turnpike to get to their destinations. And most jam these highways until they become parking lots, traveling up to our part of the state to find motels that are out of harms way.

As for emergencies that require the evacuation of specific neighborhoods, we have multiple systems in place. The primary one is a knock on the door by a police person telling you to leave your home...

Radio annoucement of alerts stems largely from the EAS alerting system
mentality with its inspiration coming from WW2 air raid sirens and
annoucements made over loudspeakers.

You must not listen to radio much...then again, you don't have to deal with this every year like we do here in Florida. Radio is the BEST source of information because they can afford to abandon their standard programming formats and focus on the emergency. Local TV broadcasters only do this when they are literally in the eye of the storm. What is more common is for them to keep running traditional programming with brief announcements during station breaks. Frankly, most people in this state tune to the Weather Channel if they want immediate updates.

And when you are in your car driving north on I-95 or the Turnpike, are you suggesting that people should be watching TV? Get Real

I always stop to think what the situation would have been had people
in the Katrina area had access to better alerting mechanisms.

These folks had all the access they needed. They fled like rats in front of the storm. The problem with Katrina was the local government was not prepared and in the end the politicians and police fled too, leaving all kinds of resources on the ground that could have been used to evacuate people. The airport was closed down and the rental car companies sent their staffs home, with thousands of cars that could have been rented sitting on the lot. flooded, after the storm. The evacuation plan to use school buses was abandoned because most of the drivers got in their cars and fled.

PLEASE do not try to pin the blame on the Katrina disaster on anyone other than the folks who caused it - in New Orleans and Baton Rouge (the Governor's office).

I lived through multiple hurricanes in South Florida when I was a teenager. Storms that were every bit as powerful as Katrina. We managed to survive them without outside help from the State or Federal governments. After these storms I made my living cleaning up the messes in the neighborhood. I would create piles of debris ten feet high and twenty feet long in each yard. Somehow, these piles disappeared within a week using local government resources.

I had two similar piles in my yard here in Gainesville after Florence blew through (I have a 1.5 acre tree covered lot versus the 90' x 110' lots in my old neighborhood in South Florida). It took three months for the local government to remove these piles, and they had to pay outside contractors to do most of it.

SO PLEASE, do not try to educate me about the progress we have made in dealing with disasters in the U.S.


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