Being prepared for the worst

Dr. Lee inside the MCI Locker
Dr. Lee inside the MCI Locker

Antarctica is a harsh continent.  The winter residents here at McMurdo prepare for the worst several times during the year by performing Mass Casualty Incident (MCI) drills.  Because we are isolated and cannot depend on any outside assistance, we are all interdependent upon each other for survival.  At the beginning of the winter season, we were all given a survey to provide input on any relevant training we may have for such an occurance.  People were also given the opportunity to sign up to be part of the walking blood bank as well as volunteer for tasking if an incident occurs.  If an event happens, I’ll be working in dispatch with Wes and Marsha, so Iwould be unable to do any of the extra taskings.  Some of the other tasks include:

  • Stretcher bearers – Pretty self explanatory
  • Recorders – People that basically stick with the medical department personnel and record everything that goes on
  • Runners – People that pass along information between all of the different groups involved in the incident
  • SAR – Search and Rescue team
  • EOC – Emergency Operation Center
  • HASTY team – Transportation
  • MedAux Triage
  • MedAux First Aid
  • MedAux Blood Bank
  • MedAux Xray
  • Security

    Wes and I
    Wes and I

On March 14th, there was a mock medical set up for an MCI event.  In the event of an MCI, the Firehouse becomes Primary medical and the “hospital” becomes secondary but all of the seriously injured patients will go there.  All vehicles are removed from the bay and the town will come over and set things up to prepare for patients.  This time, since there was no actual event, the fire department personnel helped with the set up of the event. 

Prepping the bay
Prepping the bay

Attached are a few pictures from the drill.  I didn’t take these shots, these were taken by Melanie Troftgruben. 

Melanie playing the victim
Melanie playing the victim


Lt. LaPointe giving instructions on loading the stretcher into the ambulance
Lt. LaPointe giving instructions on loading the stretcher into the ambulance

Stay safe and warm!

You can keep yer angel poop! (Q&A)

And other styrofoam items!

No, really.  Packing peanuts are banned from Antarctica.  Sure, we get family members sending us things (no, not me personally, but I’ve recently run across a bag of packing peanuts in Skua central from a well meaning family members), and we get frowned upon for receiving items with this.  Why?

Fact:  We at McMurdo recycle about 70% of what we receive.  Fact #2:  Packing peanuts are non-recylable.  That and it is REALLY windy here.  A couple of those buggers escape and they’re off to who knows where.  Fact is, they’re really bad for the environment.  Let me go ahead and wave my hippie flag and hug a tree, but really, they’re bad.  Even with as much as I like filling the cab of Mike Baker’s truck with them, they’re bad.


Another Dear Tori Q&A

Dear Tori,

If there was one thing you could change about Antarctica, what would it be?
Dear Will,
Nothing.  I’d love for y’all to be able to visit (without it costing an arm, leg, liver, spleen, brain, heart, lung), but that’s also part of what makes this place so special.  The remoteness.  The harshness.  The fact that it takes me away from everything that is “normal” in my everyday life. 
There may be days that I get irked with the lack of humidity and dust blowing everywhere, but then the snow comes. 
There may be days that I wish for plants and trees, but I appreciate being around those things so much more when I’m not here.  Not being around them all the time, you learn to pick up certain things about plants.  I now appreciate the varying colors in each individual leaf, even if they appear to be one solid shade of green.  I appreciate the smell of rich soil, the metallic smell of rain, the smell of Brunswick…  Granted you can smell Brunswick when you enter the county, but it’s “normal”.
It wouldn’t be Antarctica if there were shopping malls or restaurants.  It wouldn’t be Antarctica if there was traffic, cell phones, convenience stores, cats, dogs, sheep, cows…  It wouldn’t be Antarctica if everything was what I already know.  That’s why I love it.  I’m still learning, seeing, experiencing new things every month I’m down here. 
Stay warm!

Dear Tori – Q&A

I’m still taking questions, but right now I have a few that I can answer.  Others are going to take me a while to answer, but as soon as I find out the correct information, I’ll answer them in other posts.  I’m looking at you, Andy Hall.

Dear Tori,

Do you have any pets on base?


Dear Tori,
Goblin wants to know (again), why are dogs prohibited from going to Antarctica. He says it doesn’t make any sense. Dogs have a much smaller environmental impact than people.
Linda & Goblin-

Do firefighters count?  If so, I have six of them this season. 

In all honesty though, no, we don’t have pets.  Nor do we have chia pets either.  Plants are also banned* (There are some special provisions for the greenhouse, but we won’t have the greenhouse this winter season)

From Wikipedia – Some U.S. laws directly apply to Antarctica. For example, the Antarctic Conservation Act, Public Law 95-541, 16 U.S.C. § 2401 et seq., provides civil and criminal penalties for the following activities, unless authorized by regulation or statute:

  • the taking of native Antarctic mammals or birds
  • the introduction into Antarctica of non-indigenous plants and animals
  • entry into specially protected or scientific areas
  • the discharge or disposal of pollutants into Antarctica or Antarctic waters
  • the importation into the U.S. of certain items from Antarctica

Violation of the Antarctic Conservation Act carries penalties of up to US$10,000 in fines and one year in prison.

Frankly, I can’t think of a single pet I would own that I’d risk paying $10,000 in fines for keeping and spending time in prison for.  Plus feeding it could be a problem and I don’t want to think about what it would be like to have to walk a dog outside here.  Not to mention cleaning up after it. 

Goblin, you wouldn’t want to spend all day locked in a building now, would you?

Thanks for the questions y’all!  I’ll get in touch with you about getting your addresses.

Stay warm!