Career Development: advanced safety training

STOCKTON – In recent weeks, members of the 2013 Geologic Field Methods Course (GEOS 161) completed a series of safety-related training sessions. With the help of Bryan Lenz (Director of Pacific Recreation Service & Facilities and American Red Cross certified instructor extraordinaire) students completed the American Red Cross Adult CPR/AED certification, which is a prerequisite for the advanced, 16 hour American Red Cross Wilderness & Remote First Aid courseRed Cross instructors tailored the Wilderness & Remote First Aid course to suit the needs of a working field geologist with enhanced training in areas like crushing and fall-related trauma, remote evacuations, and helicopter rescue coordiation. These certifications are part of a broad push by Dr. Burmeister to increase field safety awareness in our majors, which will help them to work safely and make them more desirable to future employers. 

These efforts began in late 2011, when Dr Burmeister completed the ExxonMobil Field Safety Leadership Course at the Annual Meeting of the Geological Society of America in Minneapolis, Minnesota. This training helped Dr. Burmeister identify a range of safety-related issues at the Wasatch-Uinta Field Camp (for which Dr Burmeister is a Director) that would greatly benefit from improvement. Steps towards improving the field camp program were initiated during summer 2012 and included conducting risk assessments for field activities, developing protocols for collecting medical information from participants, and drafting new tools for communicating risk, safety, and mitigation considerations to participants.

These safety-related improvements were extremely successful and shed new light on ways to improve similar weaknesses with the safety-related aspects of our own field programs at Pacific. The protocols Dr Burmeister developed for the Wasatch-Uinta Field Camp have already been incorporated into field activities at Pacific, including the 2012 Spring Break field trip on the Colorado Plateau (GEOS 105), the Fall 2012 Structural Geology field trip to the Mojave Desert (GEOS 114), and all of the field trips Dr Burmeister leads or Dynamic Planet (GEOS 51) and Geology of California (GEOS 61) since the Summer of 2012.

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