Firefighters reach Antarctic with help from rugged technology

19th March 2024
Paige West

The Antarctic Fire Angels have completed a pioneering expedition from Union Glacier to Constellation Inlet, culminating at the South Pole.

This achievement marks them as the first all-female emergency services team to undertake and finish this journey without any external support.

Georgina 'George' Gilbert and Rebecca 'Bex' Openshaw-Rowe covered the 1,230km trek in 52 days, 10 hours, and 30 minutes, fulfilling a vision that was first imagined over four years prior. Their journey involved navigating through numerous perilous crevasses, often under whiteout conditions, in temperatures so severe that even brief exposure could lead to frostbite.

Carrying their supplies on sledges known as pulks, which weighed more than 110kgs at the start, George and Bex were truly unsupported. Their cargo included all necessary food, medical supplies, and technology to autonomously reach the South Pole. Among their essential equipment were GPS trackers and satellite navigation devices, as well as a Getac UX10 fully rugged tablet. This tablet allowed them to carry out vital medical research for Cardiff University during their expedition and provided entertainment after their daily exertions.

Designed for extreme conditions like those of Antarctica, the Getac UX10 has IP66 and military-grade MIL-STD 810H certifications, enduring temperatures down to -29°C, and resistance to water, dust, and drops of up to 6 feet (1.8m). Its high-capacity batteries ensure prolonged usage, perfectly suiting the demands of their rigorous journey.

“In an extreme environment like the Antarctic you need to have total faith in your equipment, and we knew that only rugged technology would do,” said George. “At the end of each day’s skiing we would quickly unload our pulks, set up camp, and throw the UX10 into the tent, where we would use it each evening throughout the expedition. From the first day to the last it performed flawlessly, just as we expected it to.” 

“Getac was proud to support the Antarctic Fire Angels on their pioneering expedition to the South Pole,” said Paul Waddilove, Managing Director of Getac UK Ltd. “From the moment we heard about their plans, we knew the UX10 would be a great addition to their equipment list, thanks to its fully rugged build quality, low temperature operation and compact form factor. On behalf of Getac, I would like to congratulate George and Bex on completing their incredible journey and proving that if you believe in yourself, anything is possible!”

Getac Public Safety lead Will Hitch, who is a former member of the emergency services, added: “This was the perfect project to showcase the UX10’s capabilities, but it’s also a statement of intent from Getac UK, that we’re passionate about supporting the people behind the uniform, as well as providing their rugged tech solutions. It’s doing both that sets us apart.”

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