Running the first oil rig evacuation

Last month, we ran our first evacuation from the oil rig. This was built around a scenario written by Dr Andrew Shepherd (AKA Dr Darcy Mint and Mr Quentin Harcourt).

Our student volunteers – now morphed into the ACME Occupational Psychology Consultancy Team – were required to visit the rig at the behest of the New Walks Oil Exploration Company and assess any potential health & safety issues. (The oil rig was for this purpose an ‘experimental platform’ to be tested prior to 35 full oil rigs being built in order to exploit the discovery of oil in SL.)

Following a short briefing in the Media Zoo boat house, the ACME consultants – now identified by their blue safety helmets –  were ferried out to the platform in one of the numerous motorboats. They were given a full tour of the platform by Johnson and Aallyah.

The consultants were then required to familiarise themselves with the platform, and several days later present to Dr Darcy, Mr Harcourt and everyone else on specific aspects of H&S. This presentation was done on the helipad using slides uploaded by Johnson. Both Aallyah and Johnson were very pleased to see that all smoking cigarettes and booze bottles had been identified! In addition to H&S, the consultants were asked to include a suitable evacuation plan.

The platform supervisor, Mr Harcourt, a misery at the best of times, assigned the consultants certain tasks around the rig. It was at this stage that Dr Kelly Barklamb (AKA Doreen Mint) put in a performance worthy of Oscar recognition, as she played to perfection the distracting and obstropolous administrator unwilling to do anything the consultants asked of her.

While all this was going on, Johnson flitted around the rig laying fires, before setting off the first klaxon and starting the evacuation. Although one stairwell was blocked off, eventually all the consultants made it to the waiting boats and headed for the shore. No lives were lost!

So apart from being great fun, how useful was the scenario? As outlined in Kelly’s post from the summer, the occupational psychology team already had a good idea of how to ‘assess’ the students. And I think it’s useful to make the following observations:

  • As shown by the high quality of the presentation, SL offered these distance learning students an excellent environment in which to collaborate;
  • Most of the participants were new to SL , yet only required a one-hour training session (although it was important that this training was focused);
  • Despite the training, some found it hard to manoeuvre within the tight confines of the rig;
  • All participants acknowledged the realism of the evacuation, made more so by the noise of the klaxons.

The scenario will become more refined the more we run it. But for a first attempt, we were overall very pleased with the way it went. And certainly the participants/students/avatars/consultants tell us they found it very useful.

Simon Kear

Keeper of the Media Zoo

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