Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Sitting in a Capsized Chopper!

Remember this post? Well four year later, it is time to renew my offshore safety training certification - also known as BOSIET (Basic Offshore Safety Induction and Emergency Training).

The problem with rules and regulations in this country, is that it keeps changing. Similarly, what was previously a perfectly acceptable BOSIET curriculum, has now changed to an OPITHO certified curriculum. And with every change, it has its pros and cons. The pros? Less time in class. I remember dreading the hours spent listening to lecturers literally reading from the slide. It was pure torture - like nails on a blackboard. Why stay in class listening to someone reading to you when you can just read the slides in the comfort of your home? Well this time around - short enjoyable lectures and more hands on training.

The cons? Instead of having to just sit in an overturned helicopter 4 times, it has now increased to a grand total of 8! *no kidding*

The first two times were simulations of ditching on water. Hence we only needed to jump into an awaiting life raft outside the helicopter. The third time, was a simulation of the helicopter sinking so we had to escape by holding our breath through an open window. Fourth - helicopter sinking and escape using emergency breathing system (EBS) through an open window. Fifth - sinking and escape with EBS through closed window. Sixth, seventh and eighth were all similar to third, fourth and fifth... But instead of just sinking, the chopper also overturns (turn turtle)... Oh you know, just for that added torture *stressed face*

The helicopter simulation we had to sit in that morning. Aaahhh the things I do for a living!

On trip number four, it was my first run with the EBS and I must have panicked cos instead of blowing air into it and closing the valve, I immediately closed the valve! Which would have been horrible because it meant that I would have no air in my EBS.!Thankfully I came to my senses and managed to reset the valve, blew air into the EBS and closed it... just as the water was reaching my chin. I actually had to push my head up high to get that precious few seconds of extra time above water to get it all done. Talk about cutting it close!!!!

And on trip number six, it was the first trip for the chopper to overturn, and in all the panic, I didn't have time to put on my nose clip. Thankfully the instructor helped me with it just as the water reached below my nose. Not only that, because the chopper had turned turtle, it was only normal for me to lose my bearings hence as soon as I escaped through the window, instead of swimming up, I swam downwards. My breath-hold was finishing fast, I was not breaking through the surface and panic was kicking in. It was only when I felt a tug on my back (from the standby safety diver) that I realized I was going the wrong way!

Four seats in the chopper. Even with two instructors in the chopper and two back up divers in the water (meaning one diver for each participant), we were all dead nervous!

But.... Thanks to goggles and nose clips... I survived! In hindsight, I'm glad we did the whole helicopter survival on the first day (so that we get it over and done with and enjoy the remaining days!) and I'm glad all 8 trips on the chopper was done in succession, continuously, which gave us no time to think nor panic before each round on the chopper! Kalau tak panic jugak tunggu each group to finish their runs before embarking on the next round.

Hurray, we survived!

Other than that, we were tested on our ability to don a life jacket properly in one minute, boarded a survival craft (TEMPSC), jumped off a one meter board (back in 2007 it used to be 10 meters which in 2011 became 3 meters... Soooo glad that it's now one!), rope transfers, sea survival, fitting of helicopter strop, first aid, CPR and fire fighting.

Here's the TEMPSC. Imagine squeezing 16 people in there, sweaty bodies all cramped in that small space. I hope I never have to go through this in real life... ever!

Sea survival.

And so I got my four year certification again. Here's hoping I don't have to go offshore anymore by the time this certificate expires!

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