Contact the STRI Security Office before going to sensitve places such as the province of Darién or the Mosquitos Coast.
Check the conditions of the areas you plan to visit and the potential types of emergencies you might encounter (e.g. injuries, wildlife incidents, security concerns, etc.).
Talk with your Facility Manager, the security office, and your STRI host about your expedition plans.
Sign out using STRI’s Field Trip Registration App. The App automatically alerts STRI Security, the Facility Manager, and your STRI host where you will be visiting, your estimated time of departure (ETD) and estimated time of return (ETR). In addition, if you fail to sign-in after your ETR, the App sends out a general alert.
Avoid going out in the field alone.
Have at least two different means of emergency communication when going out into the field (i.e. radio, cell phone, GPS-SPOT device and satellite phones). The number of SPOTs and Satallite phones are limited, please contact your site administrator to check for availability.
Ask your Scientific Coordinator about satellite phone availability.
Ask the STRI Facility Manager whether or not there is radio and/or cell-phone coverage in your research area.
SPOT is a GPS device that can send out OK, HELP or 911 signals.
Pressing and holding the HELP button for 2 seconds will send your pre-programmed HELP message via text message and/or email with a link to Google Maps™ with your exact location to the SPOTteam members specified in your online account. Once activated, the indicator light will blink green every 3 seconds, and turn solid green for 5 seconds, when the message is being sent. SPOT will automatically determine your coordinates and send your message every 5 minutes for 1 hour in this mode.
In a life-threatening emergency, press and hold the 9-1-1 button for at least 2 seconds. A distress signal and your exact location will be sent every 5 minutes to an Emergency Response Center and the primary and secondary emergency contact numbers you have entered in the SPOT web service until cancelled. Once activated, the indicator light will blink green every 3 seconds, and turn solid green for 5 seconds when a message is being sent.
For boating expeditions at Bocas, use an Emergency Communication Pelican Case that includes a cellular phone and/or SPOT device.
Take a first-aid box with essential elements, including any prescription medicine you may need.
Wear appropriate field attire and carry sufficient drinking water to account for unexpected delays or emergencies.
When driving on a forest road such as the Pipeline Road or San Lorenzo, take a saw or machete to use to clear any downed trees.
Take a flashlight, map and/or GPS.
Take your STRI ID, and a panamanian photo ID or copy of your passport, including the page with your Panama entry stamp.
Once you reach your destination:
Report your presence to authorities with offices in the area (e.g. SENAFRONT, ANAM). It is suggested that you have a brief explanation of your work in the area along with contact information printed on STRI letterhead to present to the authorities.
Be alert to any anomalous situation and do not take chances.
Get recommendations for and hire a local guide to accompany you during the field activity. Note the guide’s name, contact information, and cedula number, and give that information to your host/supervisor.
Plan your daily activities ahead of time and avoid walking alone after dark.
If you encounter a law enforcement officer, tell him/her what you are doing.
If you will be entering caves, file a Cave Safety Plan with the STRI Safety Coordinator (firstname.lastname@example.org).
For boating expeditions:
Make sure to carry a personal flotation device for each person on the boat, fire extinguisher, bailing pails, anchor and line, first-aid kit, emergency flares, tools, a pair of oars and a whistle.
Verify proper condition and operation of boat systems: radio, battery, oil level, bilge pumps, propeller, navigational lights (green, red and white), and spotlight.
If diving, pick up diving safety equipment, including an oxygen kit and diving flag.