You are not permitted to download, save or email this image. Visit image gallery to purchase the image.
Donated plush penguins will help Balclutha Fire Brigade comfort youngsters at emergency callouts. Holding the little helpers are (from left) Aidan Lyall (11), CFO Jason Lyall, Daniel Fenton, Wyatt Murray (1) and station officer Stacey Murray. PHOTO: SUPPLIED Recent experience in the Antarctic has given Balclutha-born man Daniel Fenton a new appreciation of the work the fire service does across New Zealand. Stuffed Cat Toy
A communications technician by trade, Mr Downer arrived back in New Zealand last November after spending 403 days at Scott Base.
Mr Fenton was contracted to Crown entity Antarctica New Zealand for his technical skills.
However, before his deployment on the ice, he was required to undertake a customised recruitment course at the Christchurch Fire and Emergency New Zealand training centre, along with all other support service staff, so they knew what to do in a fire.
"Undertaking the training and serving as a breathing apparatus operator during my time at Scott Base gave me a greater appreciation for all the hard work, dedication and training our local brigades back home put in.
"On ice, we formed the Scott Base Volunteer Brigade, and we were trained and drilled to respond to all manner of calls including fire, medical, casualty and hazardous materials incidents," he said.
Fire safety is taken especially seriously in Antarctica.
As one of the driest and windiest environments in the world with limited access to liquid water, any fire there is potentially catastrophic. As a result Scott Base is fitted with numerous protection systems including heat and smoke detectors, sprinklers, hydrants, hoses and over 168 fire extinguishers.
Over summer Mr Fenton returned to his home town of Balclutha. While there he compared notes with the Balclutha Volunteer Fire brigade and delivered some plush penguins to the team in recognition of the work they do.
"Undertaking the training and serving as a breathing apparatus operator during my time at Scott Base gave me a greater appreciation for all the hard work, dedication and training our local brigades back home put in."
"As a token of goodwill and appreciation I donated some penguin soft toys from Scott Base to the Balclutha brigade. They will join the collection of other soft toys carried on their appliances that are given out to support children involved in any incidents they attend."
Balclutha Fire Brigade station officer Stacey Murray was grateful for the plush penguins and said they would help firefighters in an important role.
"Inevitably, children are involved in our work, so anything we can offer to help them manage the stress is really appreciated," she said.
Mr Fenton said the warnings and advice Antarctic professionals were given while transitioning back to normal life was helpful as the changes were stressful and very real.
"For 14 months you’re busy inside most of the time. When you do go outdoors it’s into one of the coldest, most inhospitable and deserted environments on earth. Then when you arrive home the Hercules loading door comes down at Christchurch airport and its hot, there’s traffic, buildings and people everywhere. Even the supermarket can feel like sensory overload."
But now Mr Fenton has reconnected with his family and work and he is easing back into normal civilian life, yet still some quirks remain — at home he still keeps the air conditioning "down as low as it will go."
Minecraft Stuffed Animals He said it had been a privilege to help keep Scott Base infrastructure running, and to allow visiting scientists to focus on some of the most advanced research on the planet.