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Stauchy Blog » Blog Archive » Fire in A1! - Nov. 2, 2006 (LAS)

Fire in A1! - Nov. 2, 2006 (LAS)

Sleeping was a little better last night.  Not great — just better.  The altitude definitely brings on a bit of sleep apnia, but hopefully that will get better. I went to another 6:30 meeting with the newest arrivals from the FEMC crew.  Jason and I met for a quick breakfast before attending Safety Bill’s last South Pole presentation, ever (or so he says). He briefed the two resident fire-fighters, Jason, another Team-2 member, and me on hazardous materials around the station and an overview of firesupression systems around the station.

Jason went out to a few science vaults (located about 1/3 mile from station). I spent most of the morning going over miscellaneous paperwork with Bill. He still had his “perma-grin.”  I kept giving him a hard time and telling him that the plane wasn’t coming.  He looked at me and said “You’re like the anti-santa” (Smiling the whole time).  “It’s like Christmas Eve, and you keep telling me that Christmas is never going to come.”  We had a good laugh and I left him be the rest of the day.

The plane finally arrived around lunch.  I made my way down to the flightdeck to wish him luck on his journey and congratulate him on the year.  I think he may look back as a “survivor” in many ways.  It really made me think about what our status would be after a year on the ice.  Everyone assures us that even we will be “fried”.  Time will tell.

At about 1530, an alarm went off in the building.  There was a fire in the elevated station in A1! (The call was followed by “This is a drill”).  I bolted out of my office to be met in A1 by 2 of the hasty team members.  They had confirmed the fire panels and there was a fire in 1 of the berthing units in the A1 pod.  The maham of our first fire drill was upon us.  It was chaos — and we definitely all learned some valuable lessons.  One of the biggest thing that Jason learned was to be fully geared up before approaching the scene (even if the scene is only 20 feet from his gear locker).  He spent the whole drill trying to hold on to and communicate over 2 radios, which dealing with his mask at the same time.  After the drill, we went to a debrief in the gym.  We heard from each other and observers the things that went well and the things that went not so well.  The drill was based on an idiot smoker (not allowed to smoke in the building) who fell asleep, started a fire, and knocked himself out in the process of jumping from bed.  We have a smoke machine down here for drills and fake blood to help with the scene — it got both of our hearts racing even after “This is a drill” and after knowing that the drill was coming.

Following the debrief, Jason went back to the lab for more training and I hung out in Andy’s office (winter site manager) to discuss the drill more 1-on-1.  We grabbed some dinner, and Jason went for more training and I tackled my new desk and computer to try to absorb more EH&S at the South Pole info.


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