Stanford University

Field Safety

gears with words on them

Manage your risk

  • Take an appropriate first aid kit.
  • If you are going to be out of cell range, check out a satellite phone from Tom Koos (or the Geological Sciences office, if you are part of GS). If you are really going to be off the beaten path, we have Personal Locator Beacons available for check out. 
  • Note who on the trip has first aid training (acquire this information from the Stanford EARTH emergency contact/medical form).
  • Familiarize yourself before leaving with the locations of hospitals and medical facilities.
  • Know the risks associated with your destination and have a contingency plan in case of injury!
  • Communicate risks to all participants and remind them to bring proof of medical insurance.

List of safety gear in car

  • First aid kit
  • Flares
  • Emergency jump kit
  • Fire extinguisher
  • First aid info binder
people on hike

Prepare participants

  • Make sure participants are informed about what to expect on the trip, what to bring, what is required of them academically, and how they should conduct themselves. Stanford students, faculty and staff are expected to abide by the Honor Code and Fundamental Standard, and Sexual Harassment Policy, and undergraduates must abide by the University Alcohol Policy at all times. 
  • Collect Medical Contact Form 2013 and liability waivers from all participants, including faculty and TAs. It is also recommended that you collect medical history information (same form as emergency contact) however you cannot require participants to disclose their medical information and any forms containing personal information must be kept in a sealed envelope during the trip and destroyed once you return home. 
  • Whenever possible, have participants work in pairs or teams. If it is necessary to split up make sure a contingency plan is developed in case of emergency. 

Follow driving rules

  • Drivers must complete the Stanford Earth vehicle training to drive Stanford Earth vehicles.
  • Drivers should not drive more than 10 hours in one day.
  • When caravanning, make sure all drivers are familiar with the route and planned stops beforehand. The best rule for caravanning is "be responsible for the car behind you". If everyone always waits for the car behind them then you will never all get separated. But have a contingency plan in case you do get separated.
  • Bring walkie-talkies to communicate between vehicles.
  • All vehicles should have a phone number for someone in all the other vehicles. 
  • All Stanford Earth vehicles have a spare key, which should be given to a responsible party during the trip.
  • Carry extra drinking water in at least one vehicle if conditions warrant.

Incident Reporting

In the event of an incident (accident/injury/illness/fatality/lost student, etc.), and when it is safe to do so, the relevant department or program manager must be contacted and briefed. 

For questions or more information please contact Tom Koos.

Tom Koos
Tom Koos

Questions about field safety?

Contact Tom Koos, our Associate Director of Facilities and Planning for health, safety and field resources at or (650) 736-1002. Tom handles field equipment, vehicles, and safety for Stanford Earth. For course and program information, contact Ryan Petterson at or check out Field Learning.

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