RAFairman's Blog

An RAF Airman's Blog

Smoke ’em Out…

We have a fly problem at work.

Yeah, really. Not anything to do with aircraft or helicopters, but actual, real, houseflies.

Somewhere in the building there is a real problem and it’s manifested by our office and our training room being plagued by the dirty little beggars.  In the summer it is really bad, but this winter as we have had to have the heating on a bit more it’s been just as bad.  They rattle against the window, and buzz around in the light fittings as well as occasionally bombarding you when sitting at the desk.  Every day or so we go round and suck the dead ones up with a hoover to get rid, but they keep coming back.

We don’t know where they come from – we’ve even had the contractors in to open up the roof void and have a look in there, but they found nothing up there (apart from a massive nest of wasps!). 

It reminds me of when I was running the end of course exercise for trainees at RAF Cosford. We had a command bunker made of the same kit that the bunkers out in Afghan are made of – Hesco-Bastion shelters.  These are big thick cages lined with a soft felt wall, and then filled with sand, aggregate and gravel. The walls are a good five foot thick and about 6 foot high, and make a really good protection against “Indirect Fire” or even Rocket Propelled Grenades (RPGs).  Obviously, there aren’t many of these in the wilds of eastern Shropshire, but it’s good familiarisation training for the lads and lasses, before they go out into the wider RAF.

Anyway, we arrived one Monday morning to start the exercise, only to find that a fox had got into the bunker and had enjoyed a meal of some sort of animal. Unfortunately it was high summer and the flies had used the remains of the body for their dirty work, and the bunker was teeming with, hundreds – indeed thousands – of flies.

Now we needed the Command Centre to be up and running asap, and were left with  a quandary as to what to do – pretty much like we are in my current office.

So this afternoon, when I head off to the gym, the rest of the office is going to shut down (well there are only 3 of us in there anyway) and we are going to do the same as we did at Cosford.

You see, the quickest way of getting rid of flies is to smoke them. And given we were running a field exercise with lots of bullets and practise explosives; we had the ideal thing to do it really quickly – a standard smoke grenade!

So after moving all the trainees out of the area, and setting up a good cordon for safety, we popped the pin and chucked in a grenade and left it. A smoke grenade produces a LOT of smoke and it very quickly filled the bunker with a lovely orange fog.

This lasted for about 15 minutes and then began to disperse slowly, through the roof and side vents in the Hesco and after a good hour of venting, we entered to find the floor and table-tops covered with dead flies.  A quick clean up with a dust-pan and brush and a wipe down with some disinfectant – AND the offending animal carcase cleared out (and buried) we were good to go again in the Bunker – apart from the walls now had a nice orange tint from the dye in the smoke grenade – which gave the bunker a lovely relaxed feel.

Now I know in these days of health and safety and such like that it probably wasn’t the BEST way of getting the bunker cleared, but it certainly was the quickest! After an hour or so (which was normally taken up with briefings elsewhere on the site) the exercise and the training went ahead (almost) on time, and with little impact.

But this afternoon, we have decided to do it properly. The contractors from the other day have left behind the proper “anti-beastie” smoke generator and instructions how to use them properly.

I think the outcome will be pretty much the same, but won’t re-paint the walls with a nice orange tint like a smoke grenade will do.

Shame really. It was a lovely colour.


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2 thoughts on “Smoke ’em Out…


  2. Aide on said:

    Just fell off the chair laughing! Smoke grenade to kill the flys! just love the idea of the flys getting the hang of this chemical war fair, and buzzing around in full protection gear!
    More of this please!

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