Where were you, & what did you do, during the '03 Blackout?

cicerone imposter
Reply Wed 20 Aug, 2003 09:53 am
It seems that this administration and congress are now ready to attack this energy problem. Let's wait and see what happens. c.i.
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Reply Wed 20 Aug, 2003 10:26 am
jespah, did you see the article in today's Wall Street Journal (page D1) titled "After Blackout, Hotels Rethink Disaster Plans"? I can't post a link, because you have to pay to read the WSJ online (typical), but I'll quote the first couple of paragraphs here:

"It is a traveler's nightmare: You show up with a reservation booked at a hotel, but instead you end up sleeping on the sidewalk out front.

"Last week, thousands of travelers found themselves in precisely that situation as the blackout hit hotels, disabling air conditioners, elevators and some keyless entry systems. Fearful that guests would hurt themselves climbing stairs or stumbling around their rooms in the dark, hotels decided to turn away -- or even evict -- people with bookings because the properties had no power. At the Marriott Marquis and Renaissance hotels in New York, about 500 guests had to bed down on the sidewalk in Times Square after the two hotels' lights and elevators blinked out and their emergency generators went kaput. Another 1,000 or so slept in lobby and conference areas."

So much for accommodating extra people during a blackout, when hotels can't even manage to accommodate the people who actually had reservations.
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Reply Wed 20 Aug, 2003 03:06 pm
Didn't see that (we don't get the WSJ, either on paper or online).

I suspect that's also why your office turned people away - fear of liability if people fell in the dark.

What I'm suggesting is the government provide something of a free pass, in that they'd make it harder (though not impossible) to recover for injuries and damages for companies providing temporary shelter, such as falling in the dark. I'm not suggesting that this is a perfect solution. The perfect solution is, well, to have power. But in the event that there is no power, emergency shelters have to be set up somehow, and hotels are already equipped with beds and food service (even with the power off, sandwiches can be made).

I kept thinking, what would NYC do if they were commonly subject to tornadoes? There just aren't any good services available. In a hurricane, there is notice so things can be set up, but in either a blackout or a tornado, there's no notice.

But that's not really true, either. There is notice - in the form of prior incidents. NYC had had blackouts in '65 and '77 (and famously, after that one, there were vows of "never again!"), plus 9/11. Yeah, I know that this costs money, I understand that of course, but the fact is NYC is more lucky than anything else that they didn't find themselves with a huge public health disaster.

If the power had been out a couple of more days, how would people have eaten? How would the elderly have fared? My cousins in Queens were essentially confined to their apartment - they're both in their 70s. How would medical services have been provided? More than one hospital lost emergency generator power. Anyone above something like the 9th floor in any apartment didn't have water (those apartments rely on water from rooftop tanks rather than the lower apartments, which rely on street pressure).

There were few means for distributing water, and apparently none for distributing food. Police were stretched thin. Hospitals were full. I realize this is the very definition of a disaster but I keep coming back to - how could some of this have been alleviated? Huge cracks in the system were uncovered. I think some of those can be filled.
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Region Philbis
Reply Wed 14 Aug, 2013 02:44 pm

ten years ago today... where were you on 8/14/03?
Reply Thu 15 Aug, 2013 06:31 am
@Region Philbis,
I was with you.
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