Being part of a government organisation we have to pay special attention to complying with standards. This means we have regularly scheduled inspections/audits of various aspects of station equipment to ensure they comply with regulations, are safe to use, and will actually work as they are intended when required.
Currently here at Mawson we are carrying out the lengthy process of auditing all of our portable fire extinguishers, which this time means replacing many that have exceeded their service life. This involves firstly locating all the extinguishers in a building, checking the test date, inverting them to prevent contents settling, weighing each one, and checking various other aspects relating to their condition. I would estimate we have close to two hundred extinguishers spread across the many buildings on station, and in fact probably more. I haven’t had time to sit down and tally up the numbers. As well as those on station, each field hut has extinguishers that require auditing, which is the fun part of the job. Getting off station.
All of the extinguishers are different ages, so the logistics of replacing the ones that have expired are a bit complicated. Once all this is done I have to update the spreadsheet that records what we have in each building, when it is due for replacing, and the recent inspection date. A lengthy task in itself.
However, the end of the job is in sight, and I have saved the best until last. Today myself and a couple of others made the quick trip to Bechervaise Island to check on a few aspects of the huts there. The state of the extinguishers being one of them. On Thursday I will head ‘up the hill’ on to the plateau for the day to audit the extinguishers at our three huts in various beautiful locations. Proof that there’s always a silver lining to even the most mundane of jobs.