The mandatory safety orientation was more of the same we’d been hearing from the beginning – less about the environment though and more about workplace safety. There was a hilarious moment though when the guy giving the talk, David, asked Denise for examples of hazards in her workplace. She explained that she worked in Flight Ops and was doing lots of scheduling mostly so unless she went out to the flight line, there really weren’t any. David nodded and agreed that the sorts of hazards he was thinking of were fewer and further between with deskjobs but for “those people who are loading and hauling and really working for a living…” (emphasis was his). Denise and I couldn’t help snorting with laughter at the implication that she didn’t “work for a living” and when his faux pas was pointed out, he turned pretty red and tried to backtrack rather unsuccessfully.
But there does seem to be a major division drawn between us, the support staff, and the research staff, which I think is rather a shame. At any rate, I hung back after the meeting to look at some of the maps and books in the room – the meeting had been held in Crary Lab, the research center on station, and there were lots of interesting things to look at and David came over and started talking to me. He was the one who pointed out my first seals – they like to come up where cracks in the ice are formed from the pressure that builds when the ice meets land. He recommended a walk to Hut Point, a mile and a half from camp and much closer to where the seals were. He also informed me that Hut Point, along with the walk to Ross Base (the Kiwi station) and a couple other routes were open to me even though I had yet to attend the Outdoor Safety Lecture (OSL) – which is required for most outdoor activities and is scheduled twice a week. Then he recommended that after I do attend the OSL, to call FSTP (Field Safety Training Program) and ask to be listed as a volunteer for Happy Camper (Field Survival Training) and Helo School (Helicopter Safety Training). Apparently sometimes they have difficulty filling those training sessions with personnel required to attend so they open it up to volunteers. After those trainings, I can try and jump on the helo trips out to the other islands or do penguin colony flyovers. Yes, please! Then on the way back to 155 – I would grab some food before going back to sleep for work that night – we had to cross over the troll bridge, and David pointed out how the bridge got its name! It’s a funny little place this camp, and for all his rambling, if any of his advice works out, David may be a useful guy to know!
So I emailed FSTP about the training and also went ahead and submitted my name to the Hospital to volunteer as part of the Mass Casualty Incident Team (MCI) – I can handle blood and injuries pretty well, am still First Aid and CPR Certified, and can still remember how to stabilize fractures and reduce dislocations so if there’s a major accident, I might be useful. I thought about walking out to Hut Point to get a closer look at the seals but I was a little worried about being tired for work, so it was home to sleep instead.