Medical & Safety

 

Medical Capabilities

The Toolik Field Station is staffed by a minimum of 1 Wilderness First Responder each day of the year. Additionally, there is 24/7 staffing by an EMT during the field season (April-September) with intermittent staffing during the winter months based off project demand. 

The EMT shack serves as the Toolik Field Station’s on-site medical facility and residence for the TFS EMT. This facility is capable of supporting Basic Life Support (BLS) procedures that are capable of treating minor traumatic injuries, as well as attempting to stabilize critical patients to prepare them for transport. While our medical staff is well equipped to handle a wide array of traumatic injuries, internal medicine complications will always prove difficult to treat in a remote environment like TFS. For this reason, it is strongly recommended that you consult with your primary care physician before you travel to camp. While Toolik is adjacent to a road network, the large transport distances that must be overcome to definitive medical care demand a heightened awareness of your own pre-existing medical conditions.

The EMT should be called at x2516 in the event of a medical emergency or hazardous materials spill. Should the EMT (or their stand-in) determine that the demands of the illness/injury exceed the resources available in camp the patient(s) will be transported outside of camp to a higher level of medical care. The EMT will accompany the patient during transport and render medical care until they reach their transport destination. 

Transport options include:

  • Prudhoe Bay Clinic - 3 hrs North - Highest level of care: PA
  • Fairbanks - Highest level of care: Physician
    • By ground - 9 hrs
    • Medevac - ~2 hrs total (Including flight to Galbraith Airstrip and back to Fairbanks)

Medical Requirements & Accommodations

Prior to Arrival

Due to limited access to definitive medical care it is highly recommended that you consult with your primary care physician regarding travel to the Toolik Field Station. Project managers should consider the medical requirements of their team prior to making a reservation. 

Ensure that you have packed an adequate supply of medications and medical equipment before you travel; it is extremely difficult to fill a prescription once you have arrived in camp. TFS does not stock any prescription medications on-site. Your physician will be able to advise you on which medications to bring, and how much of each to pack based on the duration of your stay.

Special Accommodations

Please contact Scott Filippone (smfilippone@alaska.edu) should you require any special accommodations to make your stay at the Toolik Field Station safer and/or more comfortable. With advance notice, the TFS Safety Department can discreetly address your medical needs prior to your arrival into camp.

Medical Form

Upon arrival at the Station you will be asked to complete a Medical Disclosure and Emergency Contact form (updated Jan 2021).

The Medical Disclosure and Emergency Contact form provides medical information that may be necessary in the event of serious illness or accident.  The facts you disclose will be kept confidential and will be kept on file with the station safety coordinator.  The information provided will be given to others (medical personnel, staff, etc.) only in an emergency situation.  This form is for your protection, the more complete the form, the better the medical treatment you may receive, if needed. Failure to disclose accurate and complete information could compound the seriousness of an accident or illness, particularly if you are unable to respond clearly to the medical responders inquiries.

Because of confidentiality issues the Medical Disclosure and Emergency Contact information can not be submitted through a web-based system at this time and must be filled out and submitted to TFS on paper.

Medical Insurance

Each Toolik Field Station project member must have medical/accident insurance that will cover the expenses of serious illness or accident, accidental death and dismemberment.  You must check with your health plan to verify that appropriate coverage applies. Project members are responsible for all expenses in the event that they become ill, injured, or require emergency evacuation.

Medevac Coverage

In addition to traditional medical insurance, TFS also requires its residents to obtain a medevac coverage policy with the air ambulance service of their choice. Please note that most medical insurance policies do not cover the cost of air medevac services. For more information on medevac coverage and the main agencies available in Alaska please refer to our Common Questions About Medevac Insurance guide. Toolik Field Station does not endorse any particular air medevac provider; we aim to provide you with objective information about available providers so that you can make an informed decision. 

Sharps Containers

We require that all sharps are properly disposed of in labeled sharps containers designed to minimize the potential for accidental exposures. Please contact the on-duty EMT should you require a sharps container to collect biohazardous sharps generated by the treatment of a medical condition.

Do-Not-Resuscitate Orders and Advance Directives

If you possess a valid Do-Not-Resuscitate order (DNR) or advance directive please speak with the on-duty EMT shortly after you arrive to camp.

*The appearance of external hyperlinks does not constitute endorsement by the University of Alaska of the linked web sites, or the information, products or services contained therein. For other than authorized activities, the University does not exercise any editorial control over the information you may find at these locations. All links are provided with the intent of meeting the mission of the Toolik Field Station website.

Incident Reporting

If you are currently injured or sick please contact the on-duty EMT immediately.

Click here to file an incident report with Origami. (Note: You must have a University of Alaska account in order to submit a report - please contact the on-duty EMT for assistance.)

Incident reports are an integral part of improving the overall safety of Toolik residents and staff. Filing a report provides us with the data necessary to identify and mitigate occupational hazards and other safety concerns within camp. Filing an incident report is mandatory for any injury, illness, or accident regardless of whether medical attention was provided. 

Should you obtain medical treatment at the time of the incident, or at some point in the future, the report that you file will be used as documentation in any potential workers’ compensation claims. For this reason, the information that you provide must be truthful and accurate to the best of your ability. Regardless of whether medical treatment was provided, all UAF employees must notify their supervisor within 8 hours following an incident.

Near-Miss Reporting

Near-miss reports are extremely valuable, yet many times go undocumented for any number of reasons. OSHA defines a near miss as an incident in which no property was damaged and no personal injury was sustained, but where, given a slight shift in time or position, damage or injury easily could have occurred. Near misses also may be referred to as close calls, near accidents, accident precursors, injury-free events and, in the case of moving objects, near collisions. 

Near miss reports are to be filed under the Unsafe Conditions category on Origami Risk - please consult with the on-duty EMT should you require any assistance.

We strongly encourage you to report any unsafe conditions or near-misses that you might encounter during your time at the Toolik Field Station. Near-miss data is critical to identifying safety deficiencies and preventing incidents from occurring in the first place.

Hazardous & Radioactive Materials Handling

Hazardous Materials

Researchers wishing to transport hazardous chemicals into camp must first complete the following Chemical Manifest form and e-mail it to Scott Filippone (smfilippone@alaska.edu) before sending the chemicals to camp.

Chemical Manifest

Additionally, a copy of the SDS for each chemical that you are transporting should be included with your shipment.

TFS and UAF work together to dispose of hazardous waste at the end of each field season - researches are not permitted to remove hazardous waste once it has been generated at camp. While laboratory space may be used to temporarily store chemicals during your stay at TFS, we discourage the use of laboratory spaces as long term HazMat storage for research teams. Chemicals that will be left between field seasons should be clearly labeled as such; unclaimed materials in laboratories will be disposed of periodically. The Toolik Field Station is not responsible for the loss of materials when disposed of in this manner.

Radioactive Materials

If you intend to transport any radioactive materials into TFS you must also notify Tracey Martinson (tamartinson@alaska.edu) of UAF Environmental Health, Safety, and Risk Management to coordinate transport of said materials into and out of camp. Radioactive materials may not be stored in camp between seasons and must be transported out of camp by the end of your stay.

Documents, Plans, & Guides

Toolik Field Station Emergency Action Plan

Bloodborne Pathogen Exposure Control Plan

Field Safety Guide

Transportation Safety Guide

Medevac Coverage Guide