Mike Ables, WEMT, Field Operations Supervisor
University of Alaska, Fairbanks, Alaska
Notes also taken from 2000/2001 Orientation discussion with Frank Willingham (Ilisagvik College, Barrow, Alaska).
PREVENTATIVE is the key term. Be aware and pro-active so that problems do not develop!
Often folks create their own problems - Why people get into trouble:
Ask your PI about the conditions in which you will be working. What do you need to have in terms of training, clothing, equipment, safety gear? What will be provided?
Staying safe is the first goal of anyone on a research experience.
Common excuses that result in Search and Rescue:
Emergency rescue missions have to be launched because of a number of reasons. Commonly there are several components that contribute to the necessity of a rescue operation. The common breakdowns that occur:
Leads to impairment in making decisions and using equipment.
Solution: make sure you are sufficiently rested.
Problem: Lack of fluid.
Leads to fatigue, illness, frostbite, hypothermia.
Solution: Drink lots of WATER (do not substitute other fluids!).
Problem: Improper clothing.
Leads to illness, frostbite, hypothermia.
Solution: Good clothing is an investment in good health.
Problem: Itinery not known to others.
Leads to delay in search and rescue if one is needed; leads to unnecessary waste of human time and energy and resources if a search and rescue is not needed.
Solution: Let someone know where you are at all times
Find out what the procedure is to check in and out of where you are - follow the procedure!
Problem: Cannot recognize the potential problems and threats physically, mentally, or environmentally (e.g., weather changing quickly).
Leads to trouble!! Folks are moving too fast; this is their window to do research and it is far, far too short!
Solution: Stay healthy and well rested so that your reasoning skills are sharp.
Acquaint yourself with the hazards by talking with your team and the team coordinator, the safety and logistics representatives at the station.
Acquire the proper training.
Problem: Too ambitious an undertaking for the level of skill proficiency.
Leads to accidents for those directly involved and others involved in potential rescue.
Solution: Get into shape; be aware when to stop, "just say no" when necessary.
Get training for the tasks you are undertaking.
Problem: Little or no planning , inadequate preparation, inadequate party for goal; lack of leadership
Leads to trouble!!
Solution: adequate preparation and forethought. Clear definition of the "chain of command" in the research team. Work with your team to define this.
Field Safety Orientation
Purpose: The following discussion is designed to guide the TEA in asking questions of their PI and research team.
Who is the Leader of the Expedition?
What are the Lines of Communication
What is the Emergency Medical Plan?
What is the Evacuation Plan?
A Few Thoughts on First Aid Kits
Preparing the Survival Kit ..... Don't Leave Camp Without It!
This kit is to keep you safe in the event of an emergency or change in plans. Your kit should have some form of APPROPRIATE:
Greek Hypo (under) and thermia (temperature); a condition of the body when it is unable to maintain adequate warmth, and operating therefore at subnormal temperatures.
You lose heat from your body five ways:
Radiation - movement of heat from hot object to cold object.
Your uncovered head can radiate 50% or more of a body's heat!
Respiration With normal breathing, warm air passes into the lungs; exhaling to the atmosphere removes body heat.
Inhaling cold air can affect body temperature.
Use face masks or pull-up your neck-gator to pre-warm the air.
Convection - movement of a fluid (air) carrying heat from one area to another.
Use an outer layer of windproof garments.
Use an inner insulated layer to keep the warmth near your body.
Conduction - direct transmission of heat from a warmer to a colder object.
Wear layers between you and the cold things you are touching.
Even light gloves work!
Remember that wet clothes act as a wick.
Evaporation - conversation of a liquid to a gas causes cooling.
Keep water out of your layers of clothing.
Initial Signs of Hypothermia - Mild to Moderate
As hypothermia progresses, the victim gets sleepy and the pulse slows.
Frostnip / Frostbite
Causes of frostnip/frostbite:
For mild cases (frostnip):
For more advanced cases (Frostbite):
Ask your PI and research team about what you should take in terms of equipment and clothing. What will be provided?
Cold Weather Clothing
Think of layers (layering allows you to stay comfortable; you can remove layer by layer):
Raytheon Polar Services Company
The two goals of TEA, as Raytheon sees them:
A Few Words from Past Seasons
Chain of Command
Valued Engineering Construction Operations (VECO)
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