We started the morning in the gym with a brief meeting with all the winter-overs. The last of the R&R crew returned from McMurdo yesterday and so we are all here, for better or worse, until we open in the spring (Oct-Nov). After the meeting, I made my way to the galley as I was one of the planned victims for today’s fire drill and we were testing the system if I wasn’t there to take the lead command.
The premise of the drill was that one of the friers got too hot and started a fire. The sensors above the unit that would have engaged the fire suppression systems failed. The cook, seeing the fire, went and to put the cover over the fire and hit the suppression, but knocked a pitcher of water over in the process. The water hit the oil, caused the fire to spread to a trash can and then splashed water/oil onto the floor. The cook slipped on the new mess on the floor and hit his head. I, apparently, ran into the situation to try to see the problem, was overcome with smoke fumes, coughed my way out of the galley and was escorted to medical. The entire drill was a bit far-fetched, but it had the team run through their skills.
After the medical check-up, I put on an observer sign and made my way out to the action to help provide tips/watch what was going on. There were a few weird things that happened. The drill organizers didn’t get the smoke machine set-up, so we were relying on people telling them that there was smoke and a scene description. There wasn’t anyone planted at the entrances downstairs to inform people. So, people were being “downed” from smoke inhalation without ever being told the area was full of smoke (they entered the scene because it looked clear but the drill description was that the hallway was dangerously filled with smoke after 60 seconds of alarm sounding).
When I looked in the hall and saw that 8 people were downed, half of which were never told about smoke in the hallway, I started magically healing people. It was more than we should have had and we shouldn’t assume that folks would enter the scene if they knew it was a dangerous area (ie saw smoke). We still kept 4 of these downed people – so in the end, we had 6 injured people (including the cook and me).
As usual, there were a lot of lessons learned – but, as usual with a drill, it’s hard to recreate an accurate portrayal of something like this. It was interesting for me to be on the “outside” and use the experience as a learning tool for me from the outside, as well.