Monday, June 14, 2010

Scow project update: safety equipment carried

A blog reader brought up the suggestion of bringing a fire extinguisher, which prompted me to bring up the topic of safety equipment and what of that variety we will be bringing. I doubt the 1910 expedition had much in the way of safety equipment, but my health and safety training and policies at work have guided me as to what to bring, etc. Patty and I have been just recertified in Standard First Aid and we are there the entire trip. We bought a $130.00 large and fully stocked first aid kit so are good there. May bring a stretcher just in case, but I do know how to make one out of a single length of rope if need be. We will have a cell phone in case we have to call for help. Patty may also be setting up a Skype account. Also will have a "turbo stick" which will click into my laptop so we can be in touch with you, the reader through this blog, and emergency services if need be. Fire extinguisher?- you bet, we got a 20 pound ABC one, shiny and red- cost $140.00. The expedition rowboat and scow all have bailing devices, floating life rings, floating rope, whistles, etc as required by nautical law. We have life jackets for everyone and will use them when we are floating down the river or rowing across. Patty and I also recently took a boating operators/safety course and are certified. We will have lots of pails and all the river water we need if we have to fight a fire, or putting out campfires on shore. I did have a concern about chopping lots of wood for the stove (and the enhanced risk doing that), but we now know it does not need that much and sticks the diameter of your forearm are all that are required and these are easily procured and can be broken carefully underfoot (I will have steel-soled and toed workboots) into the required lengths, or cut with a hand saw. We are also bringing some basic medicines such as Aspirin, Tylenol, Immodium, etc. Also bringing bug spray, sun block, etc. Now we have to deal with West Nile Virus (not an issue in 1910), so all our tents, though designed to look 1910-15 style, will all have mosquito netting doors and windows. Hantavirus is another possibility, but we will have a few mousetraps on board and will regularly monitor the scow for White-Footed Deer Mice and respond accordingly (I also have training in Hantavirus exposure/response). Do the blog followers have any other thoughts or ideas regarding health and safety for the trip? I think I have everything covered, but any other ideas are welcome.

A June 17th postscript: We will also have a radio with continuously updated weather broadcasts. It also has a setting which will automatically turn the radio on if a weather alert bulletin is issued by Environment Canada. This radio was tested recently in the field and was very useful for fieldwork planning and, in one case, receiving a detailed weather alert in advance of a storm front we would otherwise have known nothing about.


  1. Something for rattlesnake bites?

  2. I shall look into this, though rattlesnakes would be on the last week of our trip and within Dinosaur Provincial Park (DPP) boundaries and their emergency infrastructure. I have worked in DPP nearly every summer since 1979 and we have yet to have had a rattlesnake bite emergency. The snakes are always pretty good at letting you know they are there and to avoid them. There has only been one rattlesnake bite on a paleotological fieldworker and that was in the Milk River badlands in 1976. Darren Tanke.

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