School school in the Bahamas.

Preparing for Field School Participation

Safety essentials for all geoscience courses and field schools

You are responsible for yourself and, through your actions, those around you. All field participants will behave in a safe manner, and if unsure, will seek advice. No one will knowingly risk themselves or put others at risk.

People holding geology tools

Although field localities and field exercises are chosen with safety in mind, work and study outdoors carries some risk. All field school participants are equally responsible for safety, but faculty and staff of the Department are in charge. Given that, if you are ever instructed to take an action, or stop one, do so first, question it later.

You are strongly advised to secure additional medical insurance.

Additional medical insurance is mandatory for field school activities outside of Alberta.

The department and the university will not be responsible for any medical expenses of any kind, including ambulance transport and/or air evacuation.


Prevention is the key to safety. All students will come to field school each day with:

  • attitudes and behaviors conducive to safe field practices;
  • good footwear, preferably hiking boots, but sturdy running shoes if not boots. Open-toed shoes are forbidden.
  • clothing appropriate for the complete 'normal' range of local weather, including long trousers, sweater, and wind/rain gear, regardless of anticipated weather;
  • sun protection: hat, sun glasses, and sunscreen;
  • extra food and water when appropriate;
  • medicines for chronic illnesses such as diabetes, asthma etc;
  • mosquito and fly repellent;
  • safety equipment as issued by the Department.
  • Inform your trip leader of any conditions which might require emergency medical attention, such as bee sting allergy.
Crocuses bloom during a field school session.

Eye Protection

Safety glasses are required whenever there is any risk of rock chips or dust. The Department supplies eye protection suitable for the field, or you can bring your own. Bring them, wear them. One tiny chip can blind you for life.



Rock and masonry hammer may be used at field school. Proper techniques will be demonstrated to you. (Other hammers, made with different steel, may chip when used on rock.) Chisels, because of the greatly increased chance of hand and eye injury, are not allowed.


Team Work

Field school participants will never be asked to work alone. Keep your partner in sight, and don't get separated. Most areas are very open, and you won't have any problems. If you get separated, retrace your steps, back to the start point if necessary, until you find your partner. You should never be alone in the field.


Fires, Smoking

No fires are permitted, unless required for emergency warmth. Smoking in the field, due to the fire hazard, is discouraged. If you must, sit down, and don't wander about with a lighted cigarette.



Alcoholic beverages, non-medicinal drugs, and firearms are not permitted.

For your safety, and the safety of others, please refrain from boulder rolling; rough-housing / horsing around; antagonizing wildlife; swimming alone, and rock climbing.