A lot of field work is undertaken by the BLISS team. Find resources from packing guides to safety policies here.
Keeping people safe in the field and making fieldwork accessible and welcoming to all is a primary goal of the BLISS team fieldwork researchers. Dr. Elizabeth Smith and others within BLISS have been involved in developing and leading training that now is required at the National Weather Center. This work is ongoing. If you experience or witness something in contrast to this goal on a project with us, let one of us know. We are committed to addressing it. If you have ideas or would like to contribute to these efforts, also let us know.
HEY! If you are looking for reporting or support resources at OU, CIWRO, or NOAA/NSSL, please see the NWC Protocol listed below. It contains all of this information in one place.
This training was hosted and made available for free by the UC Field Research Safety Center. These sessions are informative, and we have used them as training material. In order to access these recorded webinars, you must go to the training series main page and then click any of the “View” links. This will take you to a registration form (the 1st, 2nd, and 4th webinars correspond to the listing below). When registering, please select the following options to view:
The National Weather Center (“NWC”), including its academic and research units, are committed to providing a safe, productive, and welcoming environment for all students, employees, and participants in their day-to-day work as well as in any conference, workshop, field project, or project hosted or managed by the NWC no matter what role they play or their background. The NWC prohibits discrimination and/or harassment of anyone regardless of race, color, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, genetic information, gender identity, gender expression, age, religion, disability, political beliefs, or status as a veteran, as well as any other characteristics protected under state or federal law.
We expect all students, employees, and participants (including those not directly affiliated with OU/NWC partners) to abide by the NWC Protocol when operating in the NWC or during any NWC-related event. This Protocol is a compilation of relevant University policies assembled for convenience and this Protocol does not supersede or modify any existing OU or NWC partner policies.
You can find the document in entirety here. A project-specific version should be provided for any project operated by a NWC-entity.
It is important to try to find a balance between packing light and packing for unexpected extensions of travel or weather changes or getting suddenly soaked or muddy just in case. I always try to pack and recommend folks pack things that can be reworn/refreshened easily and can work in layers for those cool mornings/warm afternoons. You do want to be mindful that you share any cargo space with your team, and it can be annoying to be carrying bags to your room often if they are overpacked. Travel size febreeze or even little laundry soaps can be useful for sink laundry if absolutely needed! Don’t forget extra socks and rain jacket etc, since it does rain and depending on your mission you/your feet can get pretty wet.
I recommend field clothes that are comfortable and you can move in.
For pants that can easily be leggings/yoga pants with easy tank top/sports bra type combos for feminine presenting/dressing folks. For everyone, anything from jeans to full on hiking/work pants works for bottoms. Be aware of how things might stretch/feel after wearing it for several hours or when it gets damp from some rain. Remember, air gets cooler after it rains and we might operate at night! For feet I recommend socks (bugs bite ankles!) and shoes with good ankle support. Keen or similar-type sandals are usually good if sandals are your thing. Choccos often have a lot less foot coverage and ankle support so operate at your own risk. Open toe is often not acceptable on field sites, so be sure to check if this is your choice. Highly recommend against flip flops/slides. Tennis shoes are good, but remember they can get wet, so a backup is good to have. A light set of hiking shoes/boots with some water resistance isn’t a bad bet.
For top wear, I recommend layers so you can be prepared for pretty much any temperature. Missions can be long, so having a base layer that is good about wicking moisture will be good to control any potential body moisture that can crop up and keep you fresh while you share your space with your crew mates. The “fishing gear” style field shirts can be a nice layer, as can other flannel or denim type button ups that you can choose to wear open or closed depending on the conditions. Light jacket/sweatshirt and a heavier “medium weight” jacket are good to bring along so you can stack these into a heavy-weight option or use either independently under a rain coat. Early mornings or post-storm conditions in the early spring can be cold, especially with wind. You may even consider some light gloves and ear/head cover if you tend to have issues with your ears chilling. A hat to protect you from the sun and sunglasses may also be good choices.
It is good to bring along a limited set of options for ‘off duty’ wear for when you’ve gotten dirty/wet in the field, and you want to change into something just to wear to run to eat or the store, etc. without dirtying up more field gear. I also recommend considering swim gear for the occasional great pool, and don’t forget comfy lounge/sleep clothes to get good rest.
It is good practice to bring along some small essentials along with your usually ’toiletries.’ Bug spray and sunscreen are good standbys. Wet wipes can also be good. I recommend dry shampoo for those with hair that might want to skip a full on shower in a hurry — sometimes sleeping in is the priority. For those that can’t/don’t urinate standing, consider how you may need to do so in the case no facilities can be located. Assistive devices are available on the market. Don’t forget about menstruation products if that applies to you. We prioritize finding facilities, but sometimes things might happen. Remember to bring any meds you might need!
Bringing snacks into the field is a GREAT idea. Depending on the type of project depoylment, it can be typical to go on long stretches without proper full meal stops. Consider how important it is for you to eat on a regular and predictable schedule, and plan accordingly before going out to the field. Good snacks and drinks bring up morale and keep you healthy. Do consider the smelliness of your options in confined vehicle spaces and any potential allergens of your crew mates (ask!).