Flying into Rothera I was invited to take the jump-seat in the cockpit. This allowed me to listen into all the radio communications for the landing procedure. As you might expect meteorology is the major topic of the aviation communication messages. On the runway we were met by the Base Commander who took us upto the main building, taught us the hygiene procedures in the boot/coat room, assigned us our bedrooms (top bunk, room 19), then took us to the dining room for late dinner. The first day was induction training. The day started with a generous welcome from the base commander and an explanation of the base routines and systems. Kenrick the Base Medic then gave us a base tour. The base feels surprisingly spacious, the rooms are large corridors are wide and there is lots of common social spaces. The first day of induction training also ended with another session with Kendrick this time on First Aid and familiarisation with the first aid pack contents. This was largely a walkthrough of the various levels of first aid kits use by field parties. Kenrick sensibly spent the most time on the items that need to be administered rapidly. Anaphylaxis shock requires a rapid IM adrenalin injection so we all practiced this. And pneumothorax, is a collapsed lung. If air escapes in the space between a collapsed lung and the chest wall,a buildup of air puts pressure on vital organs. So again needs rapid treatment.
The second days induction training was field training (tents, stoves, lanterns) in the morning and vehicles driving (base skidoos and gaitors) in the afternoon. The biggest safety risk to field parties in Antarctica is CO2 poisoning. So a good part of this session focused on the safe use of stoves and lanterns. After learning the basic skill, James took us up the ramp along the flagged recreation areas and explained the safety boundaries. The second part of the field training involved a tour of the travel zone boundaries. Tent pitching and snow camping were also covered in the field training. We pitched this North Face tent but most of the field kits seem to be using Terra Nova Qasar Super edition tents. These are fitted with addition flaps for snow weighting. Vehicle driving training was the final session. There are a few gaitors and skidoos on base that can be used for base work. Jack took us through pre-start checks, driving and fueling the vehicles. To check us he asked each of us to driving the skidoo up and down the the ski ramp opposite the base.