Health and Safety at RMBL

At RMBL we focus on safety and being aware of all hazards that come with living in a historic mining town at 9,500 ft.

Emergency Procedures


For life and facility-threatening emergencies, call or text 911 and inform dispatch about the location and type of emergency. Next, if you are able, notify the Administration Office in Barclay Classroom Building during office hours or Ian Billick in Barclay Cabin after hours.

If appropriate, raise an alarm: a good strategy is to find the nearest car and honk its horn. There are fire extinguishers and smoke alarms in every building, and escape ladders on all second floors.  In case of fire, exit the building immediately, and try to raise an alarm.

Phones in Gothic: Please try your neighbor in nearby cabins first.

Other phones are located:

  • Barclay Building, Administrative Office (24/7)
  • Willey Building- First floor, East entry, first door on the left (24/7)
  • The Visitor Center, 10 AM-4 PM daily (June-September)
  • billy barr community center board room or commercial kitchen (6 AM – 10 PM)


Shut off water or gas, if possible, and email RMBL staff at:

Expect an email response within 2 hours during business hours Monday – Friday; or by 9:00 AM the following day on weekends.

Water That Will Not Turn On

For water that will not turn on, please fill out a work order request:


  • Exit the building through the nearest door or window;
  • Inform dispatch about the location and size of the fire;
  • If the fire is small and safe to put out, use a fire extinguisher;
  • Inform the Administration Office in the Barclay Classroom Building during office hours or Ian Billick/Jennie Reithel in Barclay cabin


RMBL COVID-19 Policy 2022

Communication on COVID-19 

First Aid Kits and AED

First Aid kits stocked with basic first aid supplies can be found throughout campus. These locations include:

Administration Office (Barclay Classroom Bldg.): The first aid kit is accessible 24 hours a day. This location also has 2x Epi-Pens for anaphylactic emergencies. VOIP phone available for emergency use 24 hours a day.

Dining Hall/Kitchen: The kitchen has a first aid kit available to staff and residents with help from the kitchen staff. There is currently 1x Epi-Pen available for anaphylactic emergencies. Analog phone available for emergency use. (Dining Hall is open from 7 am – 7 pm)

Visitor Center: This is the campus-wide AED location. The Visitor Center has a first aid kit available for staff, residents, and visitors passing through. There is currently 1x Epi-Pen available for anaphylactic emergencies. Visitor’s Center hours vary. Analog phone available for emergency use.

Maintenance Shop: The maintenance shop has a first aid kit available for use with help from the facilities staff. There is currently 1x Epi-Pen available for anaphylactic emergencies.

Laundry Room: A community first aid kit is accessible 24 hours a day, as well as a “community chest” of personal items community members may need.

RMBL vehicles: All RMBL vehicles (ie. work trucks, RMBL Subaru) have a basic first aid kit in them.


which stands for Automated External Defibrillator, is attached to the wall out front of the Visitor Center entrance. An AED is used in the case of sudden cardiac arrest. This is a fully automated device–don’t fear using it, it can save a life! It is an easy-to-use device that tells you what to do.

EPI Pens

Epi pens can be found at:

  • the Administration office (24/7),
  • the Visitor Center (hours vary, usually 10-4),
  • the Commercial Kitchen in the bbcc (7am- 7pm).

We encourage anyone who requires an Epi pen to keep one with them at all times, especially when you are heading into the field.

Other personal items

We support every person making decisions regarding their health, free from interference. RMBL is a remote location and sometimes it is difficult to meet basic or emergency needs. There is a basic “community chest” located in the Laundry Room for community members to use as they need.

Items in the chest include:

  • Plan A (latex and latex free condoms)
  • Plan B
  • Pregnancy tests
  • Feminine hygiene products – tampons and pads
  • Lice shampoo
  • Anti-dairrheal medicine
  • Cranberry capsules for urinary tract health
  • Wet-wipes (please don’t put these in the latrine– trash only!)
  • A variety of other items

If you have a health concern and your needs are not met with items in the community chest, please feel free to contact Katie or Kelly for support.

Local Healthcare Providers

Below is a list of local healthcare providers. If you need help accessing a doctor or filling a prescription, please contact the Admin Office in person or email

List of Local Healthcare Providers

Mental Health Resources

If you need a place outside of your cabin to speak with someone privately, please use this form: Request for Meeting Space 

Local mental health contact information can be found in the “List of Local Healthcare Providers” link above.

Colorado Crisis Line: 1-844-493-TALK (8255)

The crisis line is a 24/7/365 support line for anyone affected by a mental health, substance use or emotional crisis. All calls are connected to a mental health professional, who will provide immediate support and connections to further resources.


Fundamental Behavior Code & Sexual Misconduct Training – Taken by every RMBL researcher, staff member, and visitor

Fundamental Behavior Code & Sexual Misconduct Quiz – Passing grade required to attend RMBL

Title IX states “No person in the U.S. shall, on the basis of sex be excluded from participation in, or denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any educational program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance”

Statement of Nondiscrimination and Title IX Compliance
The Rocky Mountain Biological Laboratory (RMBL) as a recipient of Federal financial assistance is subject to the provisions of Title IX.
RMBL provides equal opportunities in science and education and is committed to a policy of non-discrimination in relation to race, color, gender, sexual orientation, religion, national origin, ancestry, age, marital status or disability in admissions, access to, treatment, or employment in educational programs or activities which it operates.

Behaviors that Violate Title IX

  • Sexual Harassment includes unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature, and offensive comments related to gender, gender identity and expression, sexual orientation, physical appearance, and body size;
  • Sexual Misconduct includes rape, sexual assault, sexual battery, sexual exploitation, coercion, and other forms of non-consensual sexual activity;
  • Title IX Violation: collective term used for incidents involving discrimination, harassment, sexual harassment, sexual misconduct, stalking, dating violence, domestic violence, and/or retaliation;
  • Dating and/or Domestic Violence: Emotional, verbal, and economic abuse with or without the presence of physical abuse;
  • Retaliation: Adverse employment, academic, or other actions against anyone reporting or participating in an investigation of Title IX allegations;
  • Deliberately mis-characterizing a person’s gender identity, including through the use of a name that the person has rejected;
  • Gratuitous or off-topic sexual images or behavior in spaces where they’re not appropriate at the station;
  • Stalking is repeatedly following, harassing, threatening, or intimidating including by telephone, mail, electronic communication, or social media;
  • Patterns of inappropriate social contact, such as requesting/assuming inappropriate levels of intimacy with others;
  • RMBL follows the “Ask Once” behavioral guideline: It is generally appropriate to ask someone out once, but no more than once. If you ask someone out once, and they do not say yes, you cannot ask them out again.

Reporting Procedures

No matter your home institution or affiliation, you can disclose an incident that you experienced, observed, or were told about.

  1. The best option is to directly report to the Title IX Coordinator;
  2. Report to any RMBL staff person if you feel unsafe or uncomfortable with the 1st option;
  3. Directly contact the police (911);
  4. Note: All RMBL staff are required to disclose anything they experience, see, or hear to RMBL’s Title IX coordinator.

The next step in this process is that the Title IX Coordinator will conduct outreach to the individual who was harmed, which includes providing resources for support. They will then ask this individual if they want the office to move forward with an investigation.

The person affected is in control of the process.  If they do not want an investigation to move forward, it will not.

The only way that an investigation will move forward without the support of the individual affected is if:

  1. The incident was part of a larger pattern at RMBL;
  2. There is a history of violence, sexual violence, arrest, or the incident was committed by multiple perpetrators;
  3. The incident was perpetrated with a weapon, included physical violence (such as hitting, restraint, pushing, or kicking), or the threat of violence;
  4. The affected individual is a minor.

Investigation Options

  1. None
  2. Informal Investigation: The Title IX Coordinator works with the Affected person and possibly with the Accused person to find an internal solution. The Title IX Coordinator may include RMBL’s management team, depending on the situation. RMBL management has the ability and responsibility to take immediate action to ensure the safety of RMBL’s scientists and students. This may include changes in housing or lab assignments, mediation, or other actions up to removal from camp of any staff member, contractor, member of the scientific community, or other resident;
  3. Full Investigation: The Title IX Coordinator will bring in impartial and trained Title IX investigators to research the case. This is not a court case, but a process that investigates, whether RMBL’s policies have been violated. The case will then be presented in front of a panel where the Affected person and the Accused person can state their case. If the Affected or the Accused person are affiliated with a home university, RMBL will involve the Title IX office of this institution;
  4. Involvement of Law Enforcement: Involving law enforcement may be an additional option. In the case of sexual misconduct RMBL will automatically notify law enforcement.

For inquiries regarding the RMBL’s compliance with Title IX, contact
Brett Biebuyck
Title IX Coordinator
Director of Administration
Rocky Mountain Biological Laboratory
PO Box 519
Crested Butte, CO 81224

Title IX Resources
Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972

National Science Foundation on Sexual Harassment

National Sexual Assault Hotline– Provides confidential, one-on-one, crisis support 24/7, Phone: 1.800.656-4673

Colorado Organization for Victim Assistance COVA – is committed to fairness and healing for crime victims, their families and communities through leadership, education, an advocacy.

Gunnison Center for Mental Health – provides help, hope, and healing in the case that you are dealing with a life problem, a mental illness, or a substance use disorder.

Project Hope – is supporting, educating and providing confidential advocacy to individuals affected by relationship violence and/or sexual assault.

Seek Then Speak provides victims and survivors of sexual assault answers to their questions, and informs them of their options for reporting when they are ready. This service is available to anyone in the Gunnison Valley. You may visit the website, call 1-888-865-9863 or download the mobile app.

You may call Law Enforcement Victim Services in Gunnison at 970-641-8299. Ask for Victim Advocate Kathleen Felix (

“Safer Science: Strategies to Protect At-Risk Researchers when Conducting Fieldwork” webinar. 

Here is a link to a very well-done field safety webinar, “Safer Science: Strategies to protect at-risk researchers when conducting fieldwork.” You can find a recording of the webinar on the Safer Science event website.


COTREX, a new mapping website & app produced by the state of Colorado (overview info here). It provides free access to trail maps, aerial imagery, and key data layers (e.g. trailhead amenities like water & bathrooms). All can be downloaded for offline use.

Behavioral first aid – Alpenglow Education

Workshops — FieldFutures


Safeguarding research staff “in the field”: a blind spot in ethics guidelines

Supporting graduate field leadership through community‐sourced advice, action, and policy

A guide for developing a field research safety manual that explicitly considers risks for marginalized identities in the sciences

A set of principles and practical suggestions for equitable fieldwork in biology

Field Safety & Prevention Guide – Path to Care

Preventing Sexual Harassment & Assault in the Field Sciences

Carrying the Moral Burden of Safe Fieldwork


Several field safety resources were discussed and shared during the event. The complete list can be found below and on the Safer Science event website.


Evacuation Procedures

In Case of an Evacuation or a Station-wide Emergency:

  •  Stay off the internet to allow bandwidth for emergency response
  • You will hear air horns or car horns
  • You will see a BLACK, WHITE, or RED FLAG on the southwest side of the TOWN HALL to indicate that an evacuation is underway, or that some other station-wide emergency is happening.
  • If you see a Black flag, we will be evacuating people to Rainbow Park, 300 8th Street, Crested Butte, Colorado. That is where we will set up a Communication Center; please evacuate there where you can receive additional information.
  • If you see a White flag, we will be evacuating people to the first bridge up valley, just beyond the Avery picnic We will have a Communication Center there as well; please evacuate there where you can receive additional information.
  • If you see a Red flag, it means that an emergency other than an evacuation to one of those two spots is happening and that further instructions will be provided at the Town Hall
  • During the event, direct your questions to an Incident Team Member. An Incident Team Member is wearing an orange vest
  • Because not everyone has transportation, if you have a vehicle with extra space, we ask that you bring your vehicle to the Town Hall/Visitor Center and pick up extra individuals.
  • If you need transportation, we ask that you proceed to a location just south of the Town Hall and stand off the road to flag down a carpool
  • We will collect the names and information of people who check in with us at the Visitor Center or at the Communication Center at the place of evacuation.

RMBL Winter Travel Safety Plan 2021 Update

PDF of Winter Travel Safety Plan


The purpose of this plan is to identify the hazards associated with winter travel and strategically manage the associated risks where RMBL activity is conducted. A range of winter travel hazards are covered in this plan, but it is important to recognize that avalanche danger is the primary hazard and is given special emphasis in this document. There is always some avalanche hazard whenever snowcover is present but there are times of elevated hazard that require greater focus and more rigorous risk management planning for travel. It is understood that any effective rescue of a person(s) buried by an avalanche must take place within 15-30 minutes of burial and must be accomplished by persons within the travel party. An organized rescue from an outside source is not a reliable option. Much of the emphasis in this plan is on travel along Gothic Road but it also applies to all RMBL-related travel through areas of potential hazardous terrain or conditions. The intent of this plan is to minimize exposure to winter travel hazards regardless of where the travel occurs.


This plan applies to:

  • RMBL Staff in the course of fulfilling work responsibilities, including staff that are working for a Principal Investigator (PI) under a RMBL-approved research plan.
  • Participants in a RMBL-sponsored group activity This plan does NOT apply to:
  • Non-staff scientists (they are covered by their own Winter Safety Plans, submitted as part of their research application)
  • The general public renting a cabin (“ski hut”) on a short-term basis. It is customary in Colorado that travelers to backcountry huts assume responsibility for their own safety when travelling to, and recreating from, the ski hut. Such travelers are required to sign standard RMBL liability waivers. In addition, RMBL actively manages hut access and users are not allowed to ski into or out of Gothic during high or extreme avalanche conditions. Under these conditions, or an elevated avalanche danger under which the users are not comfortable traveling the Gothic Road, users are provided a full refund or re-booked in the hut at no extra If the Danger Rating increases while they are in Gothic, they are encouraged to shelter in place at no extra charge and food (cached in Autumn) is available for their use.

General Winter Travel Considerations

Changing weather conditions can present a range of winter travel risks. Cold temperatures, wind, and blowing snow create hazardous conditions that could result in frostbite of exposed skin and the potential of getting lost in whiteout conditions. It is important to be prepared by checking weather forecasts, wearing appropriate clothing, and giving yourself plenty of time to make the journey during daylight hours. In hazardous weather conditions (e.g. poor visibility or extreme cold), travelers will follow the RMBL travel protocol for solo travel under Considerable avalanche danger outlined in Appendix 2 (e.g. consult supervisor, sign in and out, carry emergency contact device). If you are already out and find yourself in hazardous weather conditions, either turnaround and follow your tracks back to a safe location (if possible) or wait until conditions improve and/or proceed cautiously.

Breaking trail after a big storm, whether on skis or show shoes, increases travel time and exposure to risks related to weather and avalanche hazards. If traveling in a group, take turns breaking trail to save energy and decrease travel time. It is also important to be aware of different technical and physical abilities within the group and adjust roles and pace accordingly to avoid injury and over exhaustion.

Avalanche Danger and RMBL Travel Protocols

The Gothic Road section (Appendix 1) in this plan starts at the gated trailhead parking area (mile 0) and ends north of the East River bridge, south of Gothic – a distance of approximately 3.3 miles or 5.3 km. It is the access corridor to and from Gothic and has varying degrees of avalanche hazard across this 3-mile stretch. The map in Appendix 1 highlights the areas along the road of increased avalanche frequency with red, orange, and green stretches representing higher to lower avalanche frequency respectively. This map is an important guide when traveling the road, particularly under conditions of elevated avalanche danger.

Avalanche season typically starts at the beginning of December and ends in May. Before any travel along Gothic Road or other areas where RMBL activity occurs during avalanche season, it is important to check the avalanche danger scale. The danger scale was established by the American Avalanche Association (AAA) and consists of 5 categories. It is utilized in forecasts by avalanche centers within the United States, including the Colorado Avalanche Information Center (CAIC) and the Crested Butte Avalanche Center (CBAC). Current forecasts for the Crested Butte area are available through the CBAC (Crested Butte Avalanche Center ( The CBAC has two forecast zones and Gothic Road is in the Southeast Zone of the CBAC forecast area.

Appendix 2 is a summary of the avalanche danger levels and the RMBL travel protocols that apply to RMBL staff and RMBL- sponsored activity for travel on Gothic Road and other areas where RMBL activity occurs.

Additional Travel Protocols for RMBL-sponsored Groups

Occasionally RMBL will host groups on the Gothic townsite for research and/or educational purposes. Given larger group sizes and varying degrees of winter travel experience it is recognized that additional safeguards and procedures are required. These include:

  • A RMBL employee will act as Team Leader to lead groups to and from the townsite on Gothic
  • All people travelling on the road must wear a modern 3 antenna beacon, carry an avalanche probe and Beacon checks should be conducted before departure to ensure proper function in both send and search modes.
  • Team Leader will contact a RMBL representative at the beginning and end of group travel along Gothic Road to ensure accountability of travel plans.
  • Team Leaders will be provided with either a Satellite phone, InReach or similar device to ensure connectivity in the event of unforeseen or emergency situations.
  • The Team Leader will hold the following training/certifications:
  • AIARE PRO Level 1
  • IS-700 NIMS, Introduction
  • ICS-100 Introduction to the Incident Command System
  • Wilderness First Responder
  • It is acceptable to fulfill the avalanche and medical certification using a professional guide. In this case the RMBL employee will act as the Team Together, the Team Leader and guide(s) are fully empowered to cancel the trip if someone is not prepared, someone is physically unfit or if avalanche risk is unacceptable.
  • For travel other than on Gothic Road, trip plans will be designed and approved through RMBL to avoid areas of avalanche danger. For travel on USFS land, the plan will need to meet the requirements outlined in RMBL’s winter use If travel through hazardous avalanche terrain is necessary, the group will be accompanied by a RMBL Team Leader at all times. The Team Leader will create and follow a trip plan appropriate for the group, considering current weather, the weather forecast, and the avalanche hazard. The team leader will minimize exposure while travelling near, through, or under avalanche terrain. The Team Leader is fully empowered to modify or cancel trip plans as conditions warrant.
  • Group travel to and from Gothic is not permitted during high or extreme avalanche
  • During Considerable Avalanche Hazard Team Leaders will need to assess avalanche hazards for individual avalanche paths and create a strategic travel plan through each path looking to minimize Techniques to minimize exposure should include travelling one at a time or spreading out.
  • Recreational skiing, snowboarding or snowshoeing by participants in a RMBL-sponsored group is NOT


This plan recognizes that avalanche danger cannot be precisely forecast even by experienced avalanche technicians and avalanches may reach the road at unexpected times. Furthermore, the plan was developed assuming current levels of backcountry use of the avalanche terrain on the northeast-facing slopes above the Gothic Road. With increasing use along Gothic, it is important that this plan be reviewed and revised as and when use patterns change. To better inform future revisions of the plan, travelers are asked to report any hazardous weather or avalanche incidents and near miss situations to their supervisor.

APPENDIX 1. Avalanche hazard assessment along Gothic Road between Mt. Crested Butte and Gothic.

Avalanche Hazard Map

APPENDIX 2. Avalanche danger ratings and RMBL travel protocol

Avalanche Danger Protocol
Avalanche Protocol



It is your responsibility to know and follow RMBL’s fire policy. 

At RMBL, we recognize that it is our responsibility to protect our property and the community from wildfires.

As a townsite surrounded by forest, built principally from wood, with numerous historic buildings, decades of valuable research and incredible scientific assets, we have a lot to lose in a wildfire. Gothic is particularly susceptible to wildfires, and our actions around fire must be highly cautious and conservative.

For this reason, RMBL manages fires within the Gothic Townsite much more conservatively than the Forest Service.


Fire flags communicate current fire regulations within Gothic to the community. The fire flags are flown out front of the Administration Office. There are three flag colors with an associated fire symbol; each representing a different level of fire potential and associated fire regulations.

Green Flag: Fires are permitted in designated fire rings in Gothic. The fire must be registered, assigned a Responsible Party, overseen at all times, and put out fully at the end of the evening.


Yellow Flag: Fires are only permitted in the Solo Stove at the bbcc. The fire must be registered, assigned a Responsible Party (RP), overseen at all times, and put out fully at the end of the evening. The RP must know how to operate and care for the Solo Stove.


Red Flag: Fires are NOT permitted in Gothic.



Click here to register your fire and assign a RP.

All fires within the Gothic Townsite must be registered and have a Responsible Party(RP).

Prior to registering your fire, you must be sure that the fire you intend on having is permitted in the location you would like to use (a designated fire ring vs. solo stove vs. not at all)

  •  Green Flag= designated fire rings: Redrock Cabin, Ore House, Remmington, Richards, Beanpod, Oh Be Joyful, the bbcc
  •  Yellow Flag= Only in the Solo Stove at the bbcc
  •  Red Flag= NO fires permitted

A Responsible Party must be designated for every fire.

  • The RP is responsible for ensuring that the campfire is permitted at the chosen location under current conditions.
  • The RP is responsible for ensuring that the fire is always under control and of a reasonable size.
  • The RP is responsible for assuring that the fire is fully put-out at the end of the night (see Solo Stove instructions)
  • The RP must remain in a reasonable state of mind to oversee the safe operation of the fire.


  • Heed the regulations associated with the current fire flag and assure a safe, controlled fire.
  • Register your fire and assign a Responsible Party
  • Know where the nearest faucet/water source is located and make sure it is operable.
  • Know who to call (911 and on-site assistance) in the case of a fire emergency
  • Respect quiet hours and your neighbors- 10pm on weekday nights and midnight on weekend nights, unless a neighbor asks you to shut it down earlier.
  •  Leave the campfire area in better condition than you found it


Click here to register a fire.

NSF now requires a 2 page Supplementary Section called:  Safe and Inclusive Work Environments Plan.  Scientists doing field work at RMBL would likely need to have this supplementary document.  Here is some information and template language for NSF supplements.   Link to Template

Links and resources.

2024 Director’s Update

  1. We do not intend to require vaccinations for onsite housing. Last year we required the initial shots, but not that people keep up with boosters. For 2024 we do not anticipate requiring any shots. We will ask that if people are vulnerable based upon age or other health issues that they let us know when they are making housing requests.
  2. We are intending to move away from requiring masks in the servery of the dining hall.
  3. We will keep the policy the same for shared laboratory space, as last year. We have a number of senior scientists who are vulnerable to covid and who work in shared settings. We will work scientists to ensure that there are mask requirements, particularly in the wet lab, that allow scientists to work in that space.
  4. We will not be requiring vaccinations for children participating in day programs. If scientists are vulnerable and want to volunteer, we ask that they with the K-12 staff to ensure they are working outside or masks are used during their visits to the program.

2024 RMBL Covid-19 Policy

2023 RMBL Covid-19 Policy