Last time I deployed, I completed fire brigade training in McMurdo (see post here). Since we were being trained in an active fire station and not a training facility and because of other, Antarctica related, restrictions, we focused on learning 2-minute drills and search procedures. So, this time around, I was very excited to go to an official fire school and get to practice with, well, fire.

Myself and several other members of the 2024 winterover crew met in Jacksonville for a week of learning about how fire behaves and how to put it out. The instructors were great and really embraced trying to teach us skills and techniques that would be applicable for us at the South Pole where there isn’t really any water with which to put out fires (though they kind of thought that we’re crazy).

The week culminated with us putting on our bunker gear and watching an incipient flame grow into a roaring fire. Many of the search techniques I’d learned before made much more sense after seeing the heat and smoke layers slowly descend from the ceiling (it’s really obvious when you can/can’t see and when you don’t want to be standing up!).

And, of course, the week would not have been complete without an appropriately epic group photo :p