Preparing for the Field

Before going out into the field for research groups need to complete a Field Activities Plan (FAP) which assesses the hazards associated with the trips, controls they implement, and safety contacts in case of an emergency. The Field Research Office is an excellent resource for planning field work, templates, and providing safety equipment. It needs to submitted for review before you leave with enough time for review by all partipiants and the reviewers listed on Step 10. If you have any questions about filling out the FAP please do not hesistate to contact Rebecca Funk (

  1. Read the UofA Off-Campus Activity and Travel Policy 

  2. Determine the risk level of your trip; any trip that is not low risk must complete a FAP

    • The full risk assessment policy can be found via this link

3. Complete the E-Learning Module on How to Create a Field Activities Plan

4. Complete a hazard assessment using the following template

    • The Field Research Hazard Control library is an excellent list of hazards you may encounter in the field and the various controls that may be implemented to decrease risk
    • More information on hazards is also available on the Field Safety section of this website

5. Fill out the FAP. Use the FAP Instruction Sheet as a guide!

    • Departmental Contact: List either Rebecca Funk, Stephen Johnston, or a group member who is not participating in the field work as the contact. Alert them to your upcoming field work and provide a finished copy of your FAP before departing
    • Either copy and paste or attach your hazard assessment to Part 3: Hazard Assessment and Control. No need to re-fill out a chart
    • Contact the FRO office to obtain a log book or use a previously procured one
    • Send the first draft of the FAP to Kim Schaerer (, FRO Program Coordinator, for advice on the hazard assessments, permits required, and mandatory/recommended training
    • Determine what permits and training are required before you go on your trip (e.g. first aid, TDG, ATV, Bear awareness)
      • It is highly recommended that at least 2 people have first aid so if one person gets injured there is still another to help
      • ALL Instructors and TAs on EAS field schools are all required to have first aid

6. Procure Field Equipment

7.  Emergency Information Forms

Emergency forms hold important medical information to assist in the event of an emergency situation. A copy is held in a secure envelope to brought out to the field to be opened during an emergency. A copy is also held at the university with the departmental contact (Rebecca Funk) in they need to get in touch with the participant’s emergency contacts.

    • A qualified 3rd party collects these emergency forms. They must be kept confidential and secure. Do not share emergency forms with anyone other than the 3rd party
    • The 3rd party is responsible for alerting the PI of a medical condition that requires an accommodation or prevents the participant from safely performing the field work
    • Make sure your emergency information is also up to date on BearTracks

8. Waivers

    • A waiver is required when: 1. Trip involves undergraduates, 2. Trip involves graduate students performing field work not related to their research, 3. High or extreme risk trips
    • If you are unsure that you need a waiver contact Insurance & Risk Assessment
    • To request a waiver fill out the Waiver Request Form
    • Waivers must be signed by a witness; ideally it should be administered in-person by a UofA representative
    • Waivers must be stored for 10 years

Please contact Melissa Dhillon ( and Sarah Rees ( if you need to administer waivers for fieldwork or a field school

9. Register your Volunteers

    • Follow the link for definitions of a volunteer
    • You need to register any volunteers participating in your field work so they are eligible for WCB coverage and generate the waiver
    • All volunteers must complete a volunteer waiver and receive proper training before entering the field


    • Low to medium risk trips: Reviewed by Rebecca Funk (, Christine Willaims (, and Kim Schaerer ( and is approved by the PI. The EAS Department Chair always has the final say of whether a trip goes ahead
    • High to extreme risk trips reviewed by the above and must be approved both by the EAS Chair (
    • High to extreme risks trips involving undergraduates are reviewed by the above and must be approved by the Dean’s Office (

11. Register your trip using the google form with the Faculty of Science

12. Register with UGo and Government of Canada’s Registration of Canadians Abroad if you are leaving Alberta

    • Allows the university and government to know where you are going, how to get in contact with you, and provide assistance in an emergency

Your trip will logged in the Departmental field calendar when you submit your Field Activity Plan.