Doctor Kate headed off station looking forward to some time at Green Gorge hut. The King penguin chicks would be losing their baby coats, a perfect time for photography.
Unfortunately, just past the big hill leaving station, Kate slipped off the frozen board walk that protects the rare Azorella cushion plant, fell in a gulch and not only broke her ankle but knocked her head on the way down…
This was the situation presented to the station on a misty Thursday morning last week.
However luckily for all, this was a set-up, put in place by the dastardly Field Training Officer (FTO), to test our systems, procedures and training.
Throughout the winter, Search and Rescue (SAR) training is focussed around a framework known as L.A.S.T (Locate, Access, Stabilise and Transport).
With only 14 people on station, and half needed to keep the station running while also acting as the local fire team, an injury requiring a stretcher retrieval from the top of the steep plateau, would be an epic undertaking, calling on all resources.
Dr Kate was only 1.5km from station and it took from about 8am until 6pm for her to be transported back to station. Kate’s transport was via a number of roped stretcher lowers, the use of a stretcher wheel, some good old fashioned dragging and a trip on the back of the ‘Uber’ Polaris. This undertaking involved the whole station in one way or another.
Days like this remind us not only of the size of our ‘big’ little island, and the fact that nobody wants to be ‘that’ person…but also the amazing synergy a small team can achieve when working towards a common goal. The dastardly FTO was impressed by all!
And L.A.S.T but by no means least, I would just like to say that apart from the mental trauma and general discomfort of being strapped to a stretcher for 7 hours, no doctor was harmed in the making of this day (and to be fair I think the Doc may have enjoyed reveling in her true calling as a make up artist…!)
Billy Wallace (that dastardly Field Training Officer)