On the purpose of this manual: Today people go from the United States to Antarctica in hours. Warm buildings and home comforts shield them from months-long darkness, high winds, and temperatures sometimes below -75°C. (-100°F.). At stations like McMurdo, life seems so normal that it is easy to forget Antarctica’s dangers. Tragedy and disaster can strike unexpectedly. It has happened, and it will happen again. This manual will help you prepare for the possibility, when all seems to be going well, of suddenly being in a survival situation.
This information was derived from the experience of veteran polar explorers. Study it. It will teach you, in simple ways, what to do and when, where, and how to do it. Antarctic stations, ships, and airplanes are equipped for emergencies. Support personnel are trained in polar survival. But survival in an emergency requires individual knowledge by all persons involved.“It won’t happen to me” is the normal response to accidents and hazards. Although U.S. Antarctic Research Program operations are remarkably safe and few lives have been lost, it can happen to you.
Read and learn the information in this manual. Take this manual with you to Antarctica (p. 1).
p. 9, on Robert Byrd’s isolation at Advance Camp: About 6 weeks after the start of his isolation, Admiral Byrd noticed that something was affecting him physically. He was unable to concentrate, words ran together while reading, his eyes hurt, and he had a mild headache. At first he could not account for this feeling. After reviewing possible causes his suspicion focused on the little caboose-style coal stove. Examination revealed that the stove pipe joints were loose and that the pipe would repeatedly clog with ice and snow. These problems were temporarily corrected and Byrd soon felt better. But another source of carbon monoxide was a leaking generator exhaust; this continued to affect Byrd.