Expeditioners learn the ropes in pre-departure training

Zac Alderman
Expeditioner Zachary Alderman lets off an extinguisher as part of fire training. (Photo: Stuart Shaw)
TasFire TrainingFireballElise RobertsRope rescueVertical rescueCliff rescue

Antarctic expeditioners have been learning the ropes and playing with fire in the lead up to their departure to the icy continent.

Wintering expeditioners heading to Casey research station are spending the week at the Tasmanian Fire Service training facility learning a range of firefighting skills.

Casey research station Leader, Paul Ross, said the team were learning how to spot potential fire hazards, identify different types of fire and appropriate extinguishing method and how to use breathing apparatus for work in confined and smoke filled places.

“While we hope we won’t have to use these skills while we’re in Antarctica, it is important that we are prepared for any situation, including a fire,” Mr Ross said.

“The training gives us an opportunity to practise these skills in what is a very realistic environment.”

Antarctic-bound field training officers have also undertaken pre-departure training, practising rope rescue skills on Tasmania’s East Coast.

“The Division has a dedicated Emergency Response teams for fire and search and rescue at each Antarctic research station,” the Division’s Field Support and Emergency Management Coordinator, Anthony Hull, said.

“We have recently spent five days performing technical rope rescue training in a range of scenarios.”

The training, delivered by the Search and Rescue Training Institute New Zealand, includes knot techniques, abseiling and vertical rescue exercises including stretcher systems.

“While the conditions in Antarctica are obviously colder than in Tasmania, and the terrain is more challenging, the key search and rescue techniques are the same regardless of where they are being practised,” Mr Hull said.

Other pre-departure training for expeditioners heading south includes small boat training, working at heights and a quad bike safety course.

The first of the Antarctic-bound expeditioners are scheduled to depart Hobart on the Aurora Australis and Airbus 319 later this month.