Are you concerned with field safety while conducting work in the polar regions? Whether you've organized fieldwork for years or you're participating in your first field campaign, knowledge of basic field safety skills is of the utmost importance.
The webinar, organized by USAPECS, was held on Monday May 18th @ 11am EDT (3pm UTC) with an overview on basic field safety presented by Dr. Seth Campbell, research geophysicist at the Cold Regions Research and Engineering Laboratory, research assistant professor at the University of Maine, wilderness EMT, and SOLO wilderness medicine instructor. The webinar included general field safety and injury prevention tips, rules to live by to ensure a safe field season, basic injury assessment skills, and emergency training opportunities for researchers.
Key points from the webinar:
Dr. Seth Campbell’s “Rules” for Field Safety:
1) There is little room for ego in the field: the science expert in a field team is not necessarily the field safety expert
2) Err on the side of caution: no data point is worth your life
3) At the first sign of an issue, stop & fix it immediately before conditions worsen
4) If something doesn’t seem right, speak up!
5) Just about everything in the environment is a continuum so you should be making constant adjustments to deal with changing conditions
Key Tips on Field Safety Basics
- Gaining field experience & reading-up on the principles of field safety (in guides like Wildcare by Dr. Frank Hubbell) are helpful but there is no substitute for training!
- Get safety & technical training appropriate for your role in the field:
- if you are only a participant you should still take at least a wilderness first aid course (~16 hours of training)
- if you are leading a field campaign, get certified as a wilderness first responder (~80 hours of training)
- Know your gear & keep your camp organized
- Be aware of your team’s medical conditions before going into the field
- In case of an emergency
- collect as much information from the patient as soon as the emergency occurs
- adhere to the Patient Assessment System
- Size-up the scene
- Perform a primary survey of immediate life threats
- Check vital signs
- Perform a secondary survey