Where do the crew stay when they're waiting for a shout?
Firstly, a "shout" is how we refer to a rescue. Other terms we use are "callout" or "job". The crew do not stay down at the lifeboat station waiting for a shout, as they could be there for days or weeks between jobs. Instead, your local rescue team will be dispersed around the village of Kinghorn, at home or maybe at a friend or relative's house, just getting on with normal everyday life. The only real difference is that the "duty" crew at the time will not leave the village as you normally would without even thinking!
How does the crew know that they're needed for a rescue?
There are many ways that the crew can be alerted to a rescue. The main device we use is our pager. Each crewmember, tractor driver or launch authority (see later) carries a pager with them, and when they're needed, everyone's pager is activated by a device in our station.
If the shout is specialist or not urgent (or sometimes at night as well), we sometimes just phone the people we need instead of alerting the dozens of people in our crew. However, if the pagers failed we would also have the backup plan of setting off "maroons" - the two loud bangs you may remember hearing when you were younger!
So what happens once the crew have been alerted?
The crew will make their way down to the station. The "duty" crew will put their drysuits, lifejackets and helmets on whilst the tractor crew prepare the boat and tractor for launch. We will wait for a phone call to tell us where we're going and what the problem is, and then we get in the boat and launch.
What happens when the lifeboat returns?
The fun really starts when the lifeboat returns. First, it is thoroughly washed down from head to toe, rinsed and dried off, then it is refuelled. This process can take us about half an hour or so. We then have paperwork to fill out and, depending on how cold it was outside, some hot drinks to drink as well!