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21 April, 2003

Fire Drill!

There is a fire drill at Palmer Station about every 3-4 weeks. This is not the type of drill you have at school when the principal rings the fire drill bell and everyone proceeds out the nearest door. The station administrators get together and design an emergency scenario. It will take them weeks to put one together. The warning siren goes off at the time of the drill. People are flying everywhere! Palmer Station has its on fire team made up of station personnel who have received emergency training. No matter what these emergency personnel are doing at the time, they must drop what they are doing, run and don their emergency apparel and grab their gear. After the warning siren goes off, the fire bell begins to whoop and the light at each fire bell begins to flash. Everyone must immediately go to the boathouse to muster. To muster means to have everyone on station assemble together in one place. What if the boathouse is the scene of the emergency? Then, everyone musters at the dormitory warehouse downstairs. The fire team must find the site of the fire, the source of the fire, and put it out. Other special team fire team members huddle outside waiting to see if they are needed. It depends on the type of fire. If there is a fire in the lab, could it be that harmful chemicals are involved? Is the fire near explosive material? A lot of questions have to be answered to be sure that everyone stays safe, especially the fire team. When the drill is over, everyone returns to his/her current activity and the fire team has a debriefing to analyze what went right and what could have been done better.

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