Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: The First Draft

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  • Mikaere Curtis,

    On Friday I listened to Bob Parker's afternoon media briefing and was heartened to hear him introduce NZSL interpreter Jeremy, who would be providing sign language for the Deaf who were watching. Nice one, I thought.

    When I got home, my wife (who is an NZSL interpreter) gave me the gist of what it took to get an interpreter onscreen. Apparently, Deaf Aoteroa had been working through government channels, to no avail. The result was Deaf with no idea of what information was being imparted at the media briefings.

    Exasperated, a Deaf woman facebooked Mayor Bob asking why couldn't they organise something. He personally facebooked her back saying he would make it a priorty. And he did, too.

    And now Jeremy has his own Facebook fan-page.

    Tamaki Makaurau • Since Nov 2006 • 528 posts Report Reply

  • Greg Dawson, in reply to Mark Rickerby,

    I completely agree. I have been very scathing of twitter in the past, but its contribution over the last week is undeniable.

    Regarding the accuracy, I think it's something about the built in ability to rapidly fact check and correct inaccuracies. I mean, the misinformation persists, but the corrections persist as well.

    I'm sure someone smarter than me could show all this with reference to specific examples and tracking volumes of tweets both confirming and denying incorrect tweets or something.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 294 posts Report Reply

  • Jackie Clark, in reply to Russell Brown,

    There were a lot of kids had half days that day. Kath's daughter was in town because of that - her mum was completely unaware until after the fact ie after the girls had walked to Westhaven from town.

    Mt Eden, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 3136 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Craig Ranapia,

    Oh, let me guess – murderous atavism that would make a Neanderthal blush for shame?

    With a little racism thrown in just for laughs.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22850 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Mikaere Curtis,

    Apparently, Deaf Aoteroa had been working through government channels, to no avail. The result was Deaf with no idea of what information was being imparted at the media briefings.

    Exasperated, a Deaf woman facebooked Mayor Bob asking why couldn't they organise something.

    NZ Sign Language is one of this nation's three official languages. Why on earth should anyone have to beg for it to be part of publicly-funded functions like this?

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19745 posts Report Reply

  • st ephen,

    NZ Sign Language is one of this nation’s three official languages.Why on earth should anyone have to beg for it to be part of publicly-funded functions like this?

    Sadly, I think you just answered your own question with the elephant-in-the-room that is the third official language...

    dunedin • Since Jul 2008 • 254 posts Report Reply

  • Mark Rickerby, in reply to Greg Dawson,

    Yes, I think it’s exactly that – the immediate correction of inaccuracies – that sets it apart.

    I think the blood donation meme would be an interesting one to look at, as that would be fairly straightforward to track.

    You made me really wish I had written a script to dump copies of the firehose of #eqnz tweets as it was happening; getting back archives out of Twitter might be a pain in the ass. Maybe someone else has been doing this?

    Auckland • Since Dec 2010 • 6 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to st ephen,

    you just answered your own question

    don't believe I did

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19745 posts Report Reply

  • Mikaere Curtis, in reply to st ephen,

    Sadly, I think you just answered your own question with the elephant-in-the-room that is the third official language...

    It's been official since 2006 - I'm not sure why that begets an elephant.

    Hopefully, when the review of the quake response is undertaken*, they will listen carefully to feedback that suggests that perhaps Deaf really do need specific communication mechanisms. It's not like they can just switch on National Radio...

    * The head of the American USAR contingent was sufficiently impressed that he asked Mayor Bob to relay his conclusion that this was the best organised earthquake response he had ever seen. So, it seems the problems may exist in terms of things that hadn't actually occurred to them (like catering for Deaf).

    Tamaki Makaurau • Since Nov 2006 • 528 posts Report Reply

  • Matthew Poole, in reply to Mikaere Curtis,

    The head of the American USAR contingent was sufficiently impressed that he asked Mayor Bob to relay his conclusion that this was the best organised earthquake response he had ever seen

    US or UK? I've seen "best-organised" attributed to the latter, not the former. Or were they both that impressed?

    Auckland • Since Mar 2007 • 4097 posts Report Reply

  • George Darroch,

    I don't think a culture has been sufficiently imparted into the police, or council. I don't know whose failure has led to this lack of socialisation, but it should be quite clear that in a situation like this that NZSL is not something to be tacked on but a crucial part of the response.

    WLG • Since Nov 2006 • 2264 posts Report Reply

  • Mikaere Curtis, in reply to Matthew Poole,

    I heard it on Saturday morning, and just reviewed the audio (from 14:36). I got it wrong. It wasn't the head of the US USAR, but it was a "senior member". So, I think there is a certain level of regard held for our teams doing the hard yards in Christchurch.

    Tamaki Makaurau • Since Nov 2006 • 528 posts Report Reply

  • Matthew Poole, in reply to Mikaere Curtis,

    So we've got the head of the UK USAR team and a senior member of the US team saying roughly the same thing: that we're doing a very good job of managing the response. That's pretty high praise for a country that doesn't even have internationally-deployable USAR assets and has precious little long-term experience with multiple-collapse incidents.

    Auckland • Since Mar 2007 • 4097 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to George Darroch,

    I don't think a culture has been sufficiently imparted into the police, or council. I don't know whose failure has led to this lack of socialisation, but it should be quite clear that in a situation like this that NZSL is not something to be tacked on but a crucial part of the response.

    It's far broader than those parties. Right from the top, it's often just lip service (if you'll excuse the expression) and when challenged, handwringing excuses based on resources (read: prioritisation).

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19745 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Matthew Poole,

    a country that doesn't even have internationally-deployable USAR assets

    But parties like the Police and the Coroner get exposed to similar international events, don't they?

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19745 posts Report Reply

  • Moz,

    Sacha, there's quite a difference between the level of training and experience that even our best Police SAR people get and what an internationally deployed USAR team gets. Our SAR people are totally excellent at finding people in dense bush or NZ's slightly irritated coastal areas, but they have a limited number of people who focus on urban disaster areas (and I don't mean the Rugby World Cup). The international USAR people are here to get experience as well as give it, and if NZ was big enough to have a similar team they would no doubt have a similar level of skill as a result. It's all about how often you see a disaster, and what variety of disasters you are involved in. The fact that we're doing well will no doubt result in some intense idea-sharing with those teams, just as their arrival no doubt produced a few changes in the way our people were dealing with things.
    The flip side is that until recently NZ just didn't have enough earthquake disasters to justify a team of specialists. And the other 90% of SAR work is finding the above lost-in-the-bush and lost-at-sea customers, so that's where the expertise is focussed.

    Sydney, West Island • Since Nov 2006 • 1233 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Moz,

    The coroner mentioned in her first televised speech that local coronial staff had experience from the Boxing Day tsunami identification process and suchlike. I can see how that might be quite different to crush injuries from an urban earthquake and to USAR work in general. Seems we do send people to other places though.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19745 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Sacha,

    It’s far broader than those parties. Right from the top, it’s often just lip service (if you’ll excuse the expression) and when challenged, handwringing excuses based on resources (read: prioritisation).

    I agree. But it does seem notable that it's actually happened here. I don't recall seeing it in coverage of disasters anywhere else -- or is that simply because I'm not seeing local TV broadcasts?

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22850 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha,

    Credit where due - TVNZ to launch audio description service for audiences with impaired vision. Only Coro Street to begin with - see example clip at link.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19745 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Russell Brown,

    I don't recall seeing it in coverage of disasters anywhere else

    Drew lots of comment as part of all Premier Anna Bligh's media conferences in the recent Australian floods. Agree it's good we're seeing it here at last.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19745 posts Report Reply

  • recordari, in reply to Sacha,

    Drew lots of comment as part of all Premier Anna Bligh’s media conferences in the recent Australian floods.

    Yes, I noticed that too. It was in every media report I saw of her.

    AUCKLAND • Since Dec 2009 • 2607 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to recordari,

    What's the bet Bob Parker had seen it too..

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19745 posts Report Reply

  • Matthew Poole, in reply to Sacha,

    a country that doesn’t even have internationally-deployable USAR assets

    But parties like the Police and the Coroner get exposed to similar international events, don’t they?

    Completely different things, though. Yes the DVI squad have experience with mass-casualty incidents, but they’re not the managers. Being a grunt and being a manager are totally different sets of skills at this level of complexity. Think back to my summary of CIMS post-Pike River, and imagine scaling that up to a level where you have multiple incidents all being run individually on the CIMS model and then a higher-again level of management over the top. The people competent to be Incident Controllers at a single site are not necessarily competent to be managers at the Emergency Operations Centre which coordinates the logistics for the discrete incidents across the city. It’s the difference between “a country cop” and Gary Knowles, but magnified. To be called that good by senior disaster response managers from the UK and US (and the US is the home of the model on which CIMS is based) is very, very high praise indeed.

    Moz, don’t get land SAR and USAR confused. Although a lot of the CD USAR practitioners are involved with land SAR, it’s not true in the converse. The skills are very different. Our USAR Task Forces are very well trained as medium rescue, but they’re not trained to go overseas and contribute managerially to the cohesive whole that makes up the response to the likes of Christchurch. We have people within the rural fire sector who do have that experience, and who have worked within the incident management teams for California wildfires in the past, but not very many at all within USAR.
    The international deployment situation for the NZ USAR Task Forces is a very sore point, because when they were created the applicants were told they would be configured for international deployment. So far, the better part of a decade into the TFs’ existence, they’re still only configured for domestic work.

    Auckland • Since Mar 2007 • 4097 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Matthew Poole,

    Completely different things, though.

    Thanks for clarifying Matthew - I was making the distinction but knew there was so much I didn't know. Consensus seems to be a great job being done.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19745 posts Report Reply

  • Matthew Poole, in reply to Sacha,

    Consensus seems to be a great job being done.

    Yup. When we consider that CA-TF2, the US contribution, has very extensive international deployment experience, the praise is that much more impressive.
    Though, that said, I think consensus would also deem many of the other events to which they have responded to have been basket cases from the outset.

    Auckland • Since Mar 2007 • 4097 posts Report Reply

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