Medical & Safety
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.
Please contact Scott Filippone (firstname.lastname@example.org) 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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
Researchers wishing to transport hazardous chemicals into camp must first complete the following Chemical Manifest form and e-mail it to Scott Filippone (email@example.com) before sending the chemicals to camp.
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.
If you intend to transport any radioactive materials into TFS you must also notify Tracey Martinson (firstname.lastname@example.org) 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
Camp residents planning to venture onto Toolik Lake via boat are required to undergo a one-time boat safety orientation applicable to the vessel they will be using. This Toolik-specific orientation will cover vessel and engine familiarization, docking, Toolik policy, and the topographical features of the lake. Please refer to the following presentation to familiarize yourself with the material that will be covered during your in-person orientation.
Please note that this orientation exists to supplement, not replace, any formal boat safety training required by your home institution. Regardless of where projects originate from, we recommend that all boat users complete a boat safety course approved by the Alaska Department of Natural Resources Office of Boating Safety. A free, online, ADNR-approved boat safety course can be found at https://www.boatus.org/alaska/.
Finally, we would like to remind all camp residents of 2 especially important rules regarding boat usage on Toolik Lake:
- Coast Guard approved Personal Flotation Devices (PFDs) must be worn by all boat occupants during their voyage. This applies to all watercraft on Toolik Lake.
- Alcohol consumption is not permitted under any circumstances by either the vessel operator or passengers. All boat occupants must be sober for the duration of their voyage.
Failure to comply with these rules will result in revocation of boating privileges on Toolik Lake and may include additional disciplinary action.
In and around the area of Toolik Field Station we mainly have brown bears (grizzly bear) though black bears may be present if you are south in the Brooks Range. Toolik is too far south to encounter a polar bear.
While we do not often see bears around camp, they are ever present and active on the landscape from May-September. Occassionally, they are spotted as early as April.
Gates of the Arctic National Park has put together this great bear safety information sheet.
Bear Spray - Each group should have at a minimum of one (two is better) bear spray with them at all times when out in the field. Projects should supply bear spray for their team members, if you need to borrow an extra one please check one out in the main office.
- If you have not used bear spray before please talk to the Camp Manager or EMT for a brief tutorial
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