Field Research

Field travel to conduct  research can be challenging in many ways. Adverse situations in the field may be difficult to overcome for lack of planning. Provisions such as completing required training and hazard assessments, knowing the location of nearby rescue or medical facilities, determining appropriate supplies and safety equipment, understanding emergency contact procedures, etc., should not be overlooked prior to departure. The importance of pre-planning cannot be stressed enough. We have provided the following information to assist you in planning for both a safe and successful field trip. As a minimum, any remote trip to the field should include developing a Field Emergency Plan, performing Hazard Assessments of the research tasks performed, and completing any requisite safety training prior to departure.

Outdoor Adventures recognizes the hazards of working in the field and have worked with researchers on campus to compile a menu of trainings that will give you the tools, tips and tricks to help mitigate some of the risk associated with field work. Typically, in the Spring Semester Outdoor Adventures offers a full menu of courses. Please see their site for details or to coordinate a class.

Field Emergency Plans

The UAF Field Emergency Plan (FEP) is intended to provide UAF travelers with a sound action plan to cope with emergencies encountered during official travel at field locations within the United States and abroad. Your Department/Institute Director must also review and acknowledge (approve) your plan prior to travel. A guidline for completing a Field Emergency and Hazard/Safety Plan can be found under important forms in the right column. A basic Field Field Emergency Plan template is found below. It is a  Word document so you can add additional information or format to meet your needs. However all of the information on the template is required. If you have any questions, please contact:

Contact Email Phone
David Vazquez 907-474-5476

Hazard Assessments

Before departing for the field, you should also complete hazard assessments of the tasks you will likely perform during your research trip. These assessments, or Job Hazard Analysis, will help you determine important provisions such as required safety equipment, training, or other items needed to ensure the safety of you and your fellow researchers. Information, training, and instructions for completing a Job Hazard Analysis (JHA) can be found here.

Training Opportunities

In addition to the basic safety training required by all UAF employees, you may require additional training based on the location or nature of your research. For example, if you are working remote from any nearby medical assistance, at least one person in your party must be trained to provide First Aid/CPR. Below we’ve listed some training opportunities that may be relevant to your work. Please note that EHSRM does not provide or sponsor (pay) for these training courses. Any additional training costs are the responsibility of the department traveling. Please note that availability may be limited. We highly recommended you determine your additional needs and schedule training well in advance of your anticipated travel.

Course Contact information Cost
Water Safety (Alaska Water Wise) Yes
Alaska Boating Safety Free
Alaska Boater Education Course Yes
Bear/Firearms Safety

Bear safety: Tim Craig - Retired Federal Wildlife Biologist teaches bear safety. He can be contacted at

Firearms safety: Craig Lewis - UAF CTC Firearms instructor and active police officer, teaches pistol and long-gun qualifying classes. He can be contacted at

Ski Mountaineering Yes
Learn to Return (LTR)* Yes
ATV Rider Course (Hands-on) Yes
ATV Safety Institute E-Course Free**
Snowmobile Safety Awareness Training Free
Snowmachine User/Avalanche Training Yes

* LTR offers several specialized survival courses (aviation, bear, and water safety; Remote First Aid/CPR, etc.)

**Small fee if you want to receive a state certificate (which is not required in Alaska)