[nycbug-talk] Post-Hurricane Roll Call

Raúl Cuza raulcuza at gmail.com
Sat Nov 3 09:47:17 EDT 2012

On Nov 3, 2012, at 7:24, Richard Thornton <thornton.richard at gmail.com> wrote:

> This disaster is  30% storm, 70% sub par infrastructure in ny, nj.  This is a joke, 5 days no electricity in Princeton area over a wind??? Amazing!!

If it was just Princeton, I would share your indignation, but it was more wide spread disruption. Even if all the utility companies were fully staffed, which they are not because the staff lived in the area of destruction, they would not be able to repair all areas at once. Where they focus their efforts will say a lot about their effective values. If the repairs are coordinated by goverment officials, then it will be their values put to the test. 

I was going on and on about resource planning for building a successful web application at dinner one night to the rolled eyes of those less fascinated by operational problems. A doctor at the table came back with this: what would happen if NYC area was hit by a fatal infectious disease that has a 100% cure rate using a ventilator? 

There are 140 hospitals in the immediate area with about 30 ICU beds each. Given that they have back up ventilators and that there might be some in the supply chain, you would have about 50 per hospital. That means only 7000 people could be treated at once. This is not taking into account that you need trained people to run the ventilators.

7000 thousand seems like a lot, but it does not take much imagination to see what kind if infection rate would turn this into a tragedy.  

I propose something similar is happening with utility repairs. It also appears to me that the effect of the storm on the repair people is not insignificant. 

Repair could of been faster or avoided if underground electrical equipment was more widely used (assuming flooding does damage it), but is it worth the long term operational costs?


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