station  safety

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Medical assistance

There is no medical doctor in this town, but there is a good structure for medical emergencies. Lonyearbyen hospital is the first to be contacted in case of a medical emergency. They can allow access to the pharmacy and will deploy medical personel via a helicopter if needed.

In case of fire

There is a good infrastructure to fight fires, partly in relation to the local airport. Within all buildings there are smoke detectors. They should be in operation all times. In our house the smoke detectors ar battery operated. When the battery is low, they will peep every 15 minutes (this peep is difficult to localise so remember this).

Rescue operations

No people from the Netherlands Station are allowed to get involved in any emergency or rescue operation unless there is absolute no alternative or a request from trained personel for specific experience. Statistics proof that rescue operations are usually life threatening. Always discuss if an emergency operation is really needed. Most often waiting for better weather or a consolidation of the situation is the best reaction. The best platform for emergency actions is a get together of station leaders. There actions can be discussed. Also inform the Kings Bay watchman. If possible involve only the most experienced people in the emergency action.
In case you need immedeate emergency action, you have to order the helicopter of Sysselmannen. That is the only fully equipped emergency platform and they usually can be on site within 30 minutes. There are costs involved, but this should never be reason to refrain from asking assistance.
click on the picture for more details
20070704, 10:30
rescue operation

Environmental disasters

In Ny-Ålesund is equipment to isolate and reduce oil spills. Always contact the watchman in case of any sign of an environmental hazard.

Polar bears

weblog

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20080805, 23:54
my bear

weblog

click on the picture for more details
20080609, 19:00
safety course

If you observe a polar bear contact Kings Bay watchman. Outside the village, you have to carry both a gun and an alternative repellent (flare pistol, fire works or horn) together with a radio. Never load the gun in or in range of the town. Guns are only allowed for people who have had an approved "polar-bear-behaviour-gun-safety-and-shooting" course at least in the last three years and have had an annual gun safety course. The approved shooting course is organized by Kings Bay or UNIS. The gun safety course is given under the responsibility of a station leader. There are strict policies how to act when expecting of encountering a polar bear.

Judging personal skills

To often, we overestimate our skills in survival and safety. Permission to carry a gun is not enough for the safe usage of a gun. You have to perform constant (mind) practice, how to act in any situation. The environment of the Netherlands Arctic Station offers unique opportunities for hiking, boating, kayaking and glacier walking. All these activities need training. If you have not done this before you come to the arctic, you have to be prudent in these activities during your stay. It is mandatory that any of these activities is discussed with the station leader. Always work together with someone else, verify the amount of experience of your partner, take safety equipment and a radio with you. Always evaluate your options and act responsible.

Logging your activity

It is important to inform others about your activities, especially when you are leaving the town. There is a logbook on the door entrance of hut London II. Trips are usually also written on the trip board at the Norwegian Polar Institute. Be careful with entering return times. People will start looking for you. A radio is a comfortable part of your safety equipment which allows you to report changes in your travel intenary.

Police and assistance

There is a special hut in Ny-Ålesund were to representatives of Sysselmannen are staying during the sumer months. They are the local police and make inspections and check on regulations. They work in teams of two people. Usually one has a background in police work and the other in biology. Though they are often en route, it might be very helpful to keep them informed on your activities or ask them advice.
Station leaders are also trained in safety issues. Especially the station leader of the British NERC base excell in this issue. If necesary use them for tips and tricks and guidance.

More information

Nick Cox of the NERC base has been writing a safety guide which is free downloadable here.

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