Field Safety


Before leaving to your research location…

  • Determine what campus trainings or informational reviews pertain to your research and complete them. See the following sources:

  • Consult with faculty and/or fellow students about conditions and hazards in or near the locations you are visiting. Use the resource of collective experience we have in a department of researchers.
  • Create, then file a Field Safety Plan with your Principle Investigator and the Geography Department Safety Coordinator or the Department Manager. It may prove best to provide several plans if your research is conducted in several different locations. This plan should include:
    •   Your research itinerary
    •   Names and contact information for relevant and reachable contacts in your research locations
    •   Nearest medical services to your research locations
    •   Known hazards in your research locations
    •   Mode of travel that will be used
    •   Determination of “no go” conditions
    •   Protective measures you intend to employ against hazards in your research location

Once at your research location…

  • Report at least quarterly to your primary faculty advisor.
  • Notify your advisor when you change research locations or should you experience or be notified of any health or safety concerns.


  • Provide the following documentation to the Geography Department Safety Coordinator or the Department Manager:
  •    Create and file a Field Safety Plan for the class, multiple plans for classes centered around fieldtrips to different locations. This plan should include:
    •   Nearest medical services to field locations, including maps
    •   Possible hazards in field locations
    •   Forecast weather conditions, note inclement weather and temperatures exceeding 80ºF
    •   Determination of “no go” conditions
    •   Required protective gear
  •    Have all students complete a Field Trip Member Information Sheet, which includes:
    •   Emergency contact information
    •   Relevant medical information, such as allergies and conditions that may require an immediate response in the field
    •   Contact information
  •    Complete and have all students sign a University waiver if the activity is voluntary. If the activity is required to complete the class, no waiver is necessary.

Field Activity Waiver

  • Brief all students on potential hazards of the field environment, appropriate etiquette and safe practices (including potential heat related illnesses). Emphasize that appropriate etiquette restricts students from hazardous recreational activities while actively participating in the field class; such as rock climbing, surfing, etc.
  • Brief all students on the appropriate clothing and other gear that is required and recommended for safety in a field environment.
  • Pre-determine the best plan of action for ensuring the safety and wellbeing of individuals with preexisting conditions that may limit participation or present an unsafe condition/emergency in the field.
  • Select all student drivers prior to a field trip and verify that they have a clean driving record through the DMV. Make sure to secure more than the minimum number of drivers required to operate all vehicles and ensure that all drivers understand the importance of driving both lawfully and in a manner where all passengers feel at ease. Driver’s should be monitored throughout the trip and switched out when fatigue, complaint or poor driving warrant the change.