Friday, November 16, 2007

Fire, Ice, and Space

We had our first meeting-plus-drill yesterday evening for Team 2, and I think it was a good experience for all involved. After the usual agenda topics like introductions (lots of new faces), needs (training, equipment, etc.), scheduling the next training/meeting, I said the alarm is going off, go get ready to respond. Unfortunately only a fraction of the fire fighters had gear in the station, so we didn't have too many people doing the drill, but I think even the new folks learned a lot by watching those that could participate.

We ran the drill twice, once for a response that would travel outdoors and once for an alarm inside the station. The big difference between those two scenarios is how you stow your gear on your body. When outside for very long at South Pole temperatures, even in the balmy summer, the rubber parts on your SCBA mask and regulator can freeze solid or catastrophically crack. This isn't great for equipment that is supposed to keep you from breathing toxic smoke and vapors while working inside a fire or hazardous materials spill area. Our team is still learning, and I think we have great promise. I, normally a very low talker (both in tone and volume), am going to have to cultivate a more Type-A, aggressive voice to serve in my position as fire brigade leader.

Yesterday also was a landmark for me professionally. I started the application process to NASA to become an astronaut. It felt really weird to know that another direct step had been taken along my path toward that lofty goal that started way back when I was in the 6th grade in Kansas. They are taking applications through July 1, 2008, so it will be a while before I potentially hear anything back from NASA. But, it would certainly be heartening that if in the depths of my first Antarctic winter I got to even just have a phone interview with the selection board.

Ad Astra Per Aspera

1 comment:

noblehobo said...

"to the stars, through difficulty."

damn fine quote, sir. all the best of luck.