Safety and Emergency Protocols
Friends of the Rainforest (FOTR) strives to provide Ecotour participants with the best experience possible. Given the nature of the Rainforest and international travel, we want to ensure everyone has the information they need to feel secure in their travels or the travels of a loved one. Staff and board members from FOTR will be available to answer any questions and will be able to act as resources in the event of an emergency, communicating with contacts at Natural Solutions, the Monteverde Conservation League, the group leader and emergency contacts.
In the case of an emergency, FOTR fully trusts the judgment and policies of both the Ecotour operator Natural Solutions, the company FOTR subcontracts (lead by Jeff Norris), and the Monteverde Conservation League, the organization which maintains and staffs the field stations where groups stay (lead by Lindsay Stallcup), and we differ to their guidance.
Below is a summary of the policies and procedures as outlined by Natural Solutions and the Monteverde Conservation League. Below you will also find links to documents that detail their complete safety and emergency protocols.
Please reach out with any questions you may have.
Sophie Arp – Executive Director
612-458-9967 - cell
314-941-1257 - work
Maggie Eisenberger – Board President
608-217-5288 - cell
Natural Solutions has a Safety and Crisis Management plan that you can read by following the link below. Emergency contact information for each traveler is provided to Natural Solutions in advance of every trip and will be on file with the group leader on site. Depending on the level of the emergency, a Natural Solutions representative or the group leader will be responsible for contacting the emergency contact. FOTR staff in the US will be used as a backup for this communication in the case where the Natural Solutions rep or the group leader cannot make the contact. In the case of a life-threatening emergency, Natural Solutions will directly communicate with the affected individual’s emergency contact.
In the case of a school, the school is advised to set up its own phone tree. One phone call would be made from Costa Rica to the FOTR staff member, who would then relay the information to the school contact person, who would then go through their own phone tree. This procedure would only be used for non-life-threatening needs to share information, whether flight changes or to reassure parents that some newsworthy event like an earthquake or volcano eruption had no impact on the group.
Monteverde Conservation League
The Monteverde Conservation League has an extensive emergency protocol outlined in their information books for the field stations. You can find the information for Pocosol and San Gerardo below. The information is presented in both Spanish and English and provides more information outside of emergency protocols.
The Montverde Conservation League has first aid kits at all visitation sites, always maintains a vehicle (ATV) at the stations when guests are present, and many of their staff members have wilderness first aid training. The people on the Emergency Response Team (which is the team that will "call the shots" in any emergency) all have Wilderness First Responder or Wilderness Advanced First Aid training.
How fast MCL is able to evacuate a sick/injured person (and how long to the nearest clinic) depends on the specific situation (illness vs. traumatic injury, which station they are at, whether the hospital is required vs. being able to treat at a local clinic, etc.)
Prevention is also very important, and you can find more prevention guidelines in the information books. Staying on trails and wearing rubber boots and long pants can prevent injuries, insect stings, and snake bites. Ensuring the group members are hydrated, well-fed, and reporting illness early on can help prevent medical emergencies as well.