but if the pole is removed what will the vehicle hit instead?
To put it bluntly: generally something with a much more defined and narrow impact. Car vs pole affects dozens of people at a minimum, but it can be hundreds or even thousands.
Car vs house affects a family, usually. Yes, the magnitude of the effect can, from time to time, but a lot greater, but cars hitting things other than poles happens quite a lot and fatalities are infrequent. The worst-case hypothetical of the homeowner in that story (who, I believe, was breaking the law with his blocks) was just that: hypothetical, and worst-case.
7.1 is a pretty dramatic first warning, especially if it's warning about a 6.2 to follow. Or have I got that wrong the round way?
Nope, you're correct. February 2011 was technically an aftershock from September 2010.
The local politicians would have been getting briefings of some level of detail from Wednesday morning, depending on their role. Goff would have got them from Wednesday, probably along with other senior councillors. When local boards started getting them is anyone's guess, but being rather powerless they probably had to chase them rather than having them volunteered.
Comforted to see we’re not the few who were perturbed.
But not until Saturday, it seems. Or, at least, not perturbed enough to justify being briefed by AEM until Saturday.
because it’s not standard operating procedure – especially without a state of emergency having been declared.
That last bit is crucial. A declaration of a state of emergency is, by law, a political decision; the only people who are empowered to declare a state of emergency are specific local-body politicians or the Minister of Civil Defence. When briefings are going all the way to the Beehive, that is a lot of political interest, especially when it is the Controller - , the highest-ranking civil defence official in the area, John Dragicevich in this case - who is delivering those briefings. Those necks are being breathed-down with much vigour.
Having spent many of my weekend hours traipsing about the north-west of Auckland as a humanitarian volunteer, I can say with a fair degree of confidence that the biggest pain-point for the affected has been Vector's communications.
I shall spare you, dear reader, from the language that I heard, but there was precious little said to me that was flattering about the organisation; the linesmen, yes, but no love was forthcoming for Vector management. The uncertainty was what really bothered them. One gentleman I spoke with is a chef, and said "We have big commercial walk-in freezers at work. If I'd known it was going to be several days I could have taken things there. But by the time we knew, it was too late."
Probably the lightest point came on Saturday, whilst in Piha doing a "local intelligence check" with a key resident. She was about to go and have a hot shower, with most of Piha's power having come back on about half an hour before, when the Vector app informed her that her electricity was due to be restored on Tuesday. It was a great example of the "accuracy" *cough* and "precision" *choke* of how the app's data sources are parsed.
Also, it is now just Auckland Emergency Management, or AEM.
I would not be entirely surprised to see things happen now that Watercare has discovered that the affected residents include our new Prime Minister.
Highly likely, but also something that would utterly horrify her were it to be known as being the case.
The budget cuts have resulted in fire fighters working hours far, far beyond what is safe
Nearly 24 hours, in some cases, which is sheer madness. Nobody can safely work such a dangerous, arduous job for so long without respite.
This fire is a tragedy, and hopefully lessons will be learned. It also sounds like some people should be on the hook for manslaughter, though I'm sure some winks and nods will take care of the un-pleasantries for those truly responsible and, instead, some poor unpaid tenant representatives sitting on the board will find themselves before the courts.
It's particularly frightening to observe the fire's spread internally, given that the leaky-building remediation here has turned up apartment blocks that have improperly-applied fire safety systems that would facilitate a similar event. In theory an apartment block is constructed so that every dwelling is a discrete fire cell - a space from which a fire cannot spread within a very generous time window before being extinguished - and this requires that all cable and pipe runs that pass through walls be closed up with fire-resistant materials, including special heat-reactive fittings that swell to shut the gap entirely. Buildings have been found that have open inter-cell penetrations, no intumescent seals, etc. And we cannot even assume that an evacuation might be able to be carried out safely, because these breaches have compromised the stairwells that are to be used in case of a fire. Hopefully we never have to find out whether such a disaster is possible here, but it will be only through good luck if that happens to pass.
The Fire Service cuts under Prime Minister May's reign at the Home Office were deep and savage, with much more planned under "austerity".
The London firies had no way of reaching the top of that building from the outside.
To be fair, that's not a function of budget cuts. Most fire brigades in the world - there are a few exceptions - do not have aerial appliances that can reach up 24 storeys (roughly 75 metres). Such a boom length results in a massively heavy vehicle which is hugely destructive to the roads on which it must drive, and that has consequences. They're also horrendously expensive to procure and operate; a "normal-size" aerial runs the thick end of a million NZ dollars, and needs a lot of maintenance to remain safe.
Even FDNY, protecting its city's well-known collection of very tall buildings, only has aerial appliances with a reach of 95-100 feet (about 30 metres).
The budget cuts have resulted in fire fighters working hours far, far beyond what is safe, but there is no reasonable case to be made that they have deprived LFB of equipment that might have facilitated rescue via the exterior of the building. Especially since much of the exterior was ablaze.
ETA: This standard-catalogue appliance from one of the biggest names in fire appliance construction in the world doesn't even make it to 42 metres, as an indication of how little case can be made that LFB's funding has kept it from acquiring equipment that might have mattered a damn. The fire was running from the fourth floor up, and down to the second floor.