Antarctica is the driest continent on earth and there is also no fire brigade to call on, so fire is a real danger. The crew are suitably trained by the Tasmanian Fire Brigade to be able to combat fires and rescue each other should that need ever arise. Training consists of learning how to use a fire hose, work the water pump, use a breathing apparatus, conduct building rescues and how to deal with dangerous goods. The training goes for 7 days after which a fire chief is selected who is then responsible for ongoing training at station.
This week at Davis: 14 December 2012
Most winter expeditioners and selected science crew must all complete the competent crewman course. Here everyone is taught basic boating skills and survival techniques. This 3 day course is very popular, even if the weather is foul. Inflatable rubber rafts are a common mode of transport during the summer at Davis. They also provide an excellent opportunity to do those midnight berg cruises.
Lay surgical training
In the event the station doctor be required to perform a medical procedure, he or she would require expert help. As there are no nurses on station, 4 expeditioners are selected from the winter crew to train for 2 weeks at the Royal Hobart Hospital. Here they are taught basic lay surgical skills to assist the doctor, should there be a need. The expeditioners trained this year included a carpenter, a mechanic, a plumber and a communication technician. Plenty of skills there!
Quads are one of the main modes of transport in Antarctica and learning how to ride them properly is a must. Each expeditioner must participate in a full induction and training course. An expeditioner cannot ride a quad on the ice, or anywhere in Antarctica for that matter, unless they pass this course. Further Antarctic-specific quad training is provided at Davis station.
Search & rescue training (SAR)
A very large component of Antarctic training is the ability to self-rescue. Although a lot of this training is done in the Antarctic, many of the basics can be taught in Tasmania before departure. By the end of summer, Davis station will have trained up a very strong and capable SAR team.
Confined space training
What to pack?
After months of training, it’s finally time to go but we are faced with the dilemma, what does one take for a year in the Antarctic?