(More) Fire!!!

It’s been one of those ‘rollercoaster of emotions’ type days, the last two days of this week are a constant back to back of scenarios to get us thinking about how we should respond as a team to the unlimited possibilities that could occur to us whilst down South – We are the one stop shop when it comes to fire, anything and everything that can happen we must deal with entirely off our own back from picking up an extinguisher to providing a coroners report…It all happens on station by the people who live there, there are no emergency services, we are them……

First up this morning Josh led a team of six to respond to a vehicle fire, we got slammed (I mean slammed!!) for incorrect PPE, I turned out on the branch with no gloves which were still in my pocket for one and then there were a bunch of other things too…..We got beaten up for that….

Scenario two – This time a house fire, being dealt with and then a car ignites due to exposure, I went to attend to the car and the instructor stops the entire scenario because of my PPE….This time I had gloves but they were the wrong type…Damn!! slammed again…..I was not feeling good at this point…

Third scenario went better but Josh opened an external door without running a hose up it to check the smoke levels and Paul got a complete ribbing for not completing the ‘size up’ enough…..(In fairness, Paul was doing a good job…) A complete ribbing was again given…..Most of that was unjustified though, the guys were starting to look good this time…

Now, just to point out, we were indeed trying our utmost but with most of us only having ever had to date three days of fire training in our lives we thought we were doing brilliantly but were being picked up on stuff that seasoned pro’s would be hammered for – I had originally put my hand up to be a potential candidate for the role of ‘Fire Chief’ but after watching the poor guys get slammed so hard this morning I’d figured I wanted nothing to do with it…..So of course I kept my mouth shut and played the grey man…..Which of course meant I got picked next…..Ugh!

I have to say I was pleased with the way mine ran, I had a building fire and a vehicle outside which needed protecting from exposure, I sent a single team of two with a 38 in with BA to clear all the rooms and knock the fire down, I had a second team outside to ‘cool’ the vehicle with a hose and then a couple of guys to feed hoses and monitor BA air times etc. The guys pulled out the first casualty, dead and then went back in….With about 5 mins left before their cylinders ran out they came out and we fitted them with fresh BA kit, rather than swap the teams they knew they had one room left to clear so I sent the same team back in to finish the job where they then returned with the second casualty (also dead)

For the first time that day we got phrase which I solely put down to the team of guys working with me as they all slotted into their roles perfectly and just got on with it…..I also feel that the instructors had realised that if they gave us any more of a ‘hard time’ that day we would have left dejected, we needed a confidence boost as we were all starting to get tired and down….

As the afternoon progressed we carried out some more, we still had some mistakes but as a whole we were getting better and the feedback was improving……One day left tomorrow, more scenarios, more stress but more importantly more team building…..This has been the best week without a doubt to test the strength of our little unit of people that will be stranded on this icy plateau for a year and I can honestly say that I’m going to have an awesome time over the next twelve months if this week has been anything to go by…..



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