Saturday, March 10, 2007

Winter's first drill

In the previous post, I had some photos taken during our training exercise out at Ice Cube Lab. Today we had the drill. The scenario involved an electrical fire, lots of smoke and two of the scientists getting injured in the process - an electrocution and head injury for Claire and for Sven, he fell down the stairs rushing to help her and suffered a broken leg and clavicle.

The fire team arrived on scene, in full bunker gear, and went into the smoke-filled room to put out the fire, find the victims and secure the scene. Then the trauma team came in to tend to the victims, get them packaged up for transportation back to the station to Medical.

Trauma team making their way down the ICL stairs with Sven on a backboard.

I was acting as an observer to see how the trauma team functioned and they did a great job. Sven was crumpled up in a narrow stairwell inside and they had to uncrumple him, stabilize him, put him on a backboard, put him and the backboard in a Dr. Down sleeping bag, carry him down 2 flights of stairs and load him into an awaiting vehicle. It was a difficult scenario with lots of confounding factors but the team worked smoothly, carefully and seemed like seasoned pros throughout the drill.

We don't have an ambulance here but we do have the Screamin' Eagle and the Plumber's Express.

The Screamin' Eagle is one of the LMC 1800 Spryte tracked vehicles and it's towing a homemade sled that is equipped with a couple of benches. It's nicknamed the Plumber's Express because it was used by the plumbers to commute out to the Dark Sector every day for a while.

The Plumber's Express, now being used as an ambulance.

The drill went well, both fire and trauma teams learned from the exercise and we discovered a few kinks that we'll hopefully work out before we ever have the real thing. Both victims survived and made miraculous recoveries, although poor Claire nearly got hypothermic for real as she was transported without her parka. Another lesson learned.

And in my last post, I had a photo taken from the elevated station looking out along the flagline to the Dark Sector, which is completely obscured due to blowing snow. This is what it looks like on a nice day:

You can see the Ice Cube Lab, the far building on the left and on the right is the South Pole Telescope and MAPO. The station is casting a long shadow down the flags. And at this time of year with the sun so low on the horizon, even I can feel like a giant.


At 1:54 AM, Anonymous north of U said...


Thank you for a unique post. Not your average drill ...

Many have mentioned how much you depend on each other there and all have mentioned the cold.

But you've pieced the two together to show the effort needed from everyone to keep the station safe and the community working together.

At 6:19 AM, Blogger Heidi said...

Hi North - trying to capture the aspects of life down here in a blog has been a good reminder to me of how special this place really is. Glad you're enjoying accounts and I'll keep 'em coming.


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