You are here: Foswiki>PartnerObserving Web>ObserverChecklist>SafetyRules (08 Feb 2007, GriselaKoeppen)Edit Attach

Basic Safety Rules

Elevation & Altitude Whether you are an experienced trekker, a visitor or an observer, altitude does not discriminate. Altitude effects the young and old, fit or feeble. High altitude is defined as 1,500 - 3,500 m (5,000 -11,500 ft) in elevation. MGIO is at an elevation of 10,400 ft . To protect your health at this altitude, we have included some guidelines for acclimation. Keep in mind, acclimation is a slow process and could take as long as two weeks to become fully acclimatized, but normally the process of acclimation is 1 - 3 days. During this acclimation process a number of changes take place to allow the body to operate with the decreased oxygen and they are:
  • Depth of respiration increases.
  • Pressure in pulmonary arteries is increased, "forcing" blood into portions of the lung which are normally not used during sea level breathing.

The body produces more red blood cells to carry oxygen, along with a particular enzyme that facilitates the release of oxygen from hemoglobin to the body tissues.

Special Precautions:

Should you have a heart condition, such as CHF (congestive heart failure), or angina, avoiding altitude is advisable. The longer you are at altitude, the more your arterial vessels will dilate, increasing the flow of blood to the cardiac muscle. Exerting yourself too much, and too quickly could be fatal.

Other medical conditions for avoiding altitude are: chronic lung disease, pulmonary hypertension, previous stroke, pregnancy, anemia, and sickle cell disease. Symptoms of High Altitude Sickness

Shortness of breath, coughing, lack of appetite, nausea or vomiting, severe headache, staggering gait, and disturbed sleep. Additional symptoms may include: temporary vision abnormalities, eyelid drooping, facial swelling, swelling in lower extremities, and decreased consciousness.

None of the above symptoms are life threatening. However, the person should be closely monitored to insure that more severe symptoms or dehydration does not develop.

Treatment / Prevention

  • If the symptoms continue or do not improve within the first 48 hours, go to lower altitude.
  • Increase water intake prior to and during your visit to altitude
  • Reduce salt intake
  • Avoid smoking, alcohol, and sleeping pills
  • Include complex carbohydrates in diet (at least 70%).
  • Ibuprofen (for relieving headaches)
  • Breathing oxygen (for relieving symptoms)
  • Antacids (many foods will cause indigestion)
  • Prescribed medications (Diamox or Dexamethasone) by a physician

Emergency Response Contigency Plan A copy of the LBTO Emergency Response Contingency Plan is available with detailed information regarding:
  • Emergency Coordinators
  • Medical Emergency Procedures
  • Evacuation Procedures
  • Fire Response Plan
  • Spill Response Plan
  • Emergency Response Information Center
  • Material Safety Data Sheets

Please refer to that document for additional information. Should you have questions contact our Safety Coordinator, John Little @ telephone number 520-626-1466.

To insure smooth access to the observatories and to insure your safety during your LBTO visit, all personnel must check in at the Base Camp to:
  • Log their presence at the observatory (for safety reasons)
  • Pick up their personal refugium permit (if not issued earlier)
  • Acquire an observatory access read gate key
  • Acquire a radio (if vehicle doesn’t have one)
  • Acquire a facility key (if necessary)
  • Seek further instructions (such as weather information, radio instructions, et.).

Fire on Mount Graham Fire conditions are very high during the spring and summer months. Extreme precaution must be observed with flammables. Below you will find some information regarding a fire in 1996. Fire started: April 20, 1996 Fire contained: May 8, 1996 Closest approach (200 yards) to the Observatory: May 3, 1996. Some statistics:

  • 6300 acres burned
  • 1100 firefighters assigned
  • 31 crews
  • 26 engines
  • 9 helicopters
  • 1 air tanker
  • 4 bulldozers
  • 11 water tenders

Estimated fire cost to the USFS: $8.0M From April 29 through May 2, 1996 Observatory crews under the supervision of the Forest Service removed all the dead trees and the dead wood within 100 feet of the Observatory perimeter fence. Because the last fire on the area had been many, many years ago, the fuel load on the area was extremely high. The fuel load estimates approached 200 tons of dead wood per acre. A sprinkler system was set up around the Observatory perimeter and the site was evacuated on May 2nd at the request of the Forest Service. Ground fire crews, helicopters and aerial water tankers protected the Biology camp, the Observatory site and the vacation homes at Columbine. The fire approached the Observatory site from the southwestern slope of Emerald Peak. It came within 200 yards to the west, 300 yards to the south and 400 yards to the East. Flames as high as 350 feet were observed on the southwest side only a few hundred yards away. No structures were lost to the fire, neither at the Observatory nor anywhere else in the mountain.

-- DavidThompson - 22 Dec 2006
Topic revision: r5 - 08 Feb 2007, GriselaKoeppen
This site is powered by FoswikiCopyright © by the contributing authors. All material on this collaboration platform is the property of the contributing authors.
Ideas, requests, problems regarding Foswiki? Send feedback