Torsten Dallmeyer has what it takes to be a favorite colleague. Since Monday he has been doing his duty as an emergency paramedic on a transformer platform in the North Sea. This is located around 100 kilometers northwest of Borkum and is one of several wind farms that generate energy far off the coast. The 39-year-old stays there for three full weeks and will not return to the mainland until the new year. He spends the Christmas holidays and New Year’s Eve practically alone. Of course there are a few other employees of the wind farm operator – around 35 at the moment, their number will be reduced to twelve by Christmas – without whom Dallmeyer would not even have to be on site. But they are not family or friends. Dallmeyer has both – but no children of their own. That’s why he’s happy to take on the job at the end of the year. “So that colleagues with children can be with them at Christmas.” They appreciate so much charity – says Dallmeyer.
His employer, the regional association Weser-Ems of the Johanniter-Unfall-Hilfe, is in charge of providing first aid to the wind farm employees. Dallmeyer, who comes from Lübeck and has been at home in Oldenburg for many years, has been working in the offshore rescue department for five years. He has a first aid station on the platform, which is also where his office workstation is located. Right next to it is his bunk, which he describes as a “simple hotel room with around twelve square meters”. When he arrived there was an advent calendar waiting for him. “There is also a bit of Christmas decoration,” reports Dallmeyer.
It’s not the first time he’s been out to sea for Christmas. “We usually all eat together on Christmas Eve,” he says. But at the moment only six people are allowed to be in the dining room at the same time, so the feast must be divided into two stages. Alcohol is not allowed; Safety is a top priority in wind farms. Therefore, the dozen men – women are rare in this place – only toast with non-alcoholic sparkling wine on New Year’s Eve. The firing of missiles is, unsurprisingly, also banned. “When you stand on the platform at midnight, you can’t see anything except a single light from the wind turbine,” says Dallmeyer. He likes that; He doesn’t miss “bullying” anyway.
The paramedic does not need to treat typical blemishes from New Year’s Eve. But he also doesn’t see specific injuries that result from specialized work on the wind turbines all that often. From time to time Dallmeyer has to take care of cuts, very rarely electric shocks. “The illness missions clearly predominate,” he says. An appendix does not take into account that it would be more appropriate to catch fire on land than at sea.
The special note of the offshore medical work is the dependence on the weather. “When I look out the window at the moment, I can hardly see anything,” says Dallmeyer on the phone. Thick fog hangs over the North Sea, at the same time it is relatively calm, and according to the forecast it will stay that way in the coming days. In such conditions, the helicopter cannot move out; it takes a ship around four hours to reach the platform. “If necessary, I can get telemedical support from the Oldenburg Clinic,” says Dallmeyer. But as an offshore rescuer you have to bring a certain callousness with you, as it always takes at least an hour before help comes from the air.
On January 4th back to the shutdown
Should Torsten Dallmeyer not deal with acute physical complaints during the holidays, he will take time to talk to the people around him. Because the psychological stress of not being able to be with your loved ones at the festival of love is a burden for some.
He himself will return to shore on January 4th, to shutdown. After three weeks on the transformer platform, this prospect does not frighten him.