Sunday, February 28, 2010

The media at its silliest.

I just knew this was going to happen. All last week the media were carrying stories about how buildings in Finland were at structural risk from the snow load on the roofs. They quote experts saying that owners should clear their roofs. Now they carrying stories about how many people have been seriously injured falling off their roofs whilst trying to clear them - 30 serious injuries in Helsinki alone. Having watched neighbours teetering around on the edge of sloping roofs two storey houses with no attachment, this had seemed a likely outcome days before the hospitals started reporting the spate of accidents. I actually had a conversation a couple of days ago with a friend at work saying I wondered whether the risk of injuries or deaths from roof collapses was higher than possible injuries/deaths from people falling trying to clear their roofs. I remember being told that some researcher had estimated that more people died in car accidents driving to their doctors to ask whether they should stop taking Vioxx than would have died from the possible adverse effects inherent in continuing to take it. This might not be true but you take the point.

The media is completely hopeless at expressing risk (as I've alluded to before) - it tends to just swing from one extreme to the other and takes years to get it right. Last week's Rear Vision from ABC's Radio National in Australia was a excellent case study on the MMR vaccine scandal that never was, and how bad media reporting played into a public health reversal as result.

A view from the roof

Anyway, in the last week I've cleared the snow off my roof; my neighbours roof, and off the communal car-port-garage-thingy. But being a total coward I've finally found something to do with the jumars I got sent to review last year.

Doing something useful with my climbing gear for once


Tony said...

Who is she?

Tony said...

Sorry the comment was meant for the last post.

What did you anchor to? would have been more appropriate here. I cleared our roof on Saturday, anchored to a few wooden boards which I'm glad I didn't test how load bearing they were. After clearing away most of the snow I found some more convincing metal rails.

Toby - Northern Light Blog said...

Our house has a ladder to the top and that links into a sort of metal walkway along the top of the roof that is anchored in to the roof at various points. It all seemed rather safe as a result!