Health and Safety in the field

SPI is offering medical training courses to help address the needs of scientific groups affiliated to a Swiss research institution preparing field trips in polar regions. These courses are designed to train scientists in first aid in the field with a focus on the special conditions encountered in cold and remote regions. An overview of existing medical support solutions for people working/operating in polar/remote high-altitude environments is also provided. This overview includes telehealth, customised field pharmacies, etc.

The courses are practice-oriented, generally last two days and take place outdoors – bivouacking included. In 2019, there will be two courses:

  • A first course, held in spring, focuses on the needs of field parties heading to the Arctic Tundra and other comparable remote environments.
  • A second course, held in early winter, aims at preparing researchers to the extreme temperatures of polar regions on a medical level.

The teaching will be provided in an Alpine environment in the canton of Valais at different altitudes in order to simulate different polar weather conditions.

SPI will cover the costs for two courses per year with a maximum of 12 persons per course. Places are attributed on a first come first served basis. Participation is free of charge but SPI reserves the right to invoice participants cancelling in the last minute if their place cannot be filled.

This course is offered together with the GRIMM (Groupe d’Intervention Médicale en Montagne). Training courses will be repeated annually from 2019 onwards.

Planned courses for 2019

  • Arctic Tundra / Remote environments: held on 26/27 April 2019
  • Ice / Extreme Polar temperatures: held on 13/14 December 2019
  • If you need more information, please contact

Arctic Tundra / Remote environments

This course aims at preparing for field trips in remote environments with no/little access to medical care and infrastructure. For more information on the course, have a look at the Programme of the 2019 edition.

Ice / extreme Polar temperatures

This course aims at preparing participants of field trips to face extreme polar temperatures and to general health issues in remote regions. A more detailed programme will be communicated ahead of the course.

Required equipment

Appropriate clothing and equipment are a prerequisite for participating. A list of required equipment will be submitted to participants.