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Safety Systems

Student Affairs Manager (SAM)

Each field station has a SAM whose job it is to oversee safety on-site.They run the on-site orientation and help the students acclimate to their new, day-to-day routine and environment. They educate the students on local hazards, present the rules, and manage compliance. Each SAM is required to hold certification as a Wilderness First Responder (WFR), a 72-hour first aid training course. They assist students when they become ill or injured and are there if students just need someone to talk to. They coordinate the accident and incident reporting system and communicate regularly with the Safety Director at SFS headquarters.

First Aid Training

In addition to the SAM holding WFR certification, many of our field faculty and staff members have completed a 36-hour training in Wilderness Advanced First Aid (WAFA).


The staff at each field station is equipped with communications equipment including mobile phones, landline phones, Web access, fax, and a satellite phone. SFS headquarters maintains a 24-hour emergency contact system and is in close contact with the staff at each of its field stations.

Contingency Plans

Contingency plans, including hurricane preparedness plans and emergency evacuation plans, are reviewed and updated regularly.

Risk Management Plans (RMP)

Prior to field excursions the SAM files an RMP, specific to that trip, which identifies foreseeable risks and describes mitigating interventions and other trip particulars.

Field Preparation Guide

Customized for each field station, this document is sent out to each student upon acceptance. The Field Preparation Guide serves to orient students to SFS and each field station's local environment, including health and safety recommendations, hazards, and policies. Students are required to sign a Terms and Conditions Statement that states they understand and agree to comply with all SFS policies.

Safety Reviews

Systematic safety reviews and site visits are conducted regularly at all SFS field stations.