Wednesday 29 March 2006

FIRE CREW - in the Rockies


Sunshine Village, the ski and snowboard resort where we are living, is nestled 9000ft up in the Rocky Mountains. It is only accessible by a 5km Gondola ride and is about 10kms from the closest town Banff.

At night, when the Gondola stops, the resort - made up of 1 hotel and its guests, 1 pub, 1 hot spa and 150 staff that live on hill are left to their own devices.


Because at night we are separated from the world, the resort needs a fire crew, which are picked from the 150 staff who live on hill for the season (Banff's local crew has about a 20 minute response rate to get up to the resort).

Dane and I applied to be trained… and BOOM, we got in.


After passing our Fire Crew exams, it was time to get real. Enough reading textbooks and tying knots.... bring on the flames!

Here we are all suited up - axe, extinguisher and breathing apparatus on our backs.

Our final training drill involved a corrugated iron drum, with three valves spewing out propane gas. Hold a torch to the end of these babies and bam! Instant situation - our job was to work in teams of two and inch toward the flames using high pressure fire hoses to shield us from the heat, while we turned the valves off - BY HAND!

This is the scene - fully alight, before we headed in.

Our Fire Chief gave a few extra blasts of propane to keep us on our toes and ensure we didn't get too cold out on the snow.....

Heading in to the drum - this is actually US!

Claudia head first into the drum, while Dane keeps it cool with the hose.

Fire's out - success! Claudia chills out after a warming experience inside the flaming drum.

Relieved to still have eyebrows, we unsuit back in the fire hall, and hang up our helmets. Sunshine Village is safe once more.....

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