Search and rescue exercise

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This week at Mawson: 4 December 2015

Here at Mawson this week we engaged in a search and rescue (SAR) training exercise which involves all on station.

With a SAR training exercise, or a real SAR, all personnel and resources are required to be ready to go with the appropriate mobile rescue equipment to locate a missing person, stabilize the patient, move to a safe location, and transport the patient back to the well-appointed station medical facility.

As Antarctic expeditioners working down south, we all are involved in SAR training before we leave Australia, on the ship journey down, and at regular intervals through-out our time here on station.

We are directed in our SAR training by one of the most experienced field training officers in the Australian Antarctic Division, John - his knowledge and background in this area is extensive. Assisting John with the training is Kate, our doctor, and with this medical input we are ready to take on any SAR incident that may arise.

Our SAR training exercise this week was at Rouse Island, five kilometres off station. All persons on station were briefed on the exercise then the SAR team prepared their equipment and headed off. 

After a short search, the 'patient' John was located, stabilized, and then stretched out and down the rocks to the waiting SAR Hägglunds on the sea ice, then back to station.

Thanks to all involved.

Pretend patient down between rocks being stabilized prior to lifting on to stretcher.
A 'patient' is being stabilized prior to lifting onto stretcher during a…
(Photo: Charlie Howell)
Trev pumping the air out of the Ferno vacuum mattress prior to lifting the patient onto the stretcher.
Trev pumps the air out of the Ferno vacuum mattress.
(Photo: Charlie Howell)
The patient in the stretcher.
The pretend patient in the stretcher
(Photo: Charlie Howell)
First responders on quad bikes responding to Rouse Island.
First responders on quad bikes responding to Rouse Island.
(Photo: Angus Cummings)
Patient almost ready for transport to SAR Hägglunds
Patient almost ready for transport to SAR Hägglunds
(Photo: Angus Cummings)
Stretcher and patient in the back of the Hägglunds
Stretcher and patient in the back of the Hägglunds
(Photo: Angus Cummings)
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