Storm in a teacup

Adelaide was hit by severe storms two nights ago – the same time that New Orleans was being smashed by Hurricane Katrina.

Wind gusts up 125 km/hr knocked down numerous trees and branches which took out the power lines to around 50,000 homes.

ETSA (the electricity company) had most households back on line within 24 hours. They gave priority to life-endangering situations. Then they brought the system back up in stages. First they fixed faults to restore the network, then faults that restored whole areas, then whole suburbs, then individual streets. Lastly they did individual houses where the line from the street to the house was down.

All very sensible – starting with the faults that would bring the most houses back on line, then working down to specific dwellings. However, some people are never satisfied.

On talkback radio the next day, most calls were either anecdotal or praise for the authorities and emergency services.

But one woman rang in to complain bitterly. She said that a tree had fallen across her driveway so that in the morning she couldn’t get her car out to go to work. When she phoned the State Emergency Services and described the problem, they told her that she’d have to go on the waiting list for help. She moaned to the radio talk-back show that it wasn’t good enough, she paid her taxes …. etc., etc.

Pretty soon the station switchboard lit up with sensible people deriding her attitude. The best comment was that it was the State Emergency Service, not the Local Inconvenience Service.

I say to the women, do what lots of other people do to get to work – get a bus.

I can’t believe that your job is so important it has to take precedence over real emergencies.

If it is that important, get a taxi.

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