Avalanche awareness urged

B.C. Coroners Service urging special care during peak avalanche season

  • Mar. 13, 2013 7:00 p.m.

Avalanche season is reaching its peak and the B.C. Coroners Service is encouraging all of those going out into the backcountry to take special care.

The B.C. Coroners Service, working with the Canadian Avalanche Centre and  Emergency Management B.C., has found that over the past several winters, avalanche awareness has been improving.

“A higher proportion of backcountry users  are carrying essential avalanche safety equipment-transceivers, shovels and  probes,” said coroner Chico Newell.

“Avalanche airbag packs are highly effective when worn/deployed properly, including the leg-strap.”

However, the BCCS says many people still have not taken enough training to use that equipment with maximum effectiveness.

“A person buried in an avalanche can suffocate in minutes, long before help can arrive, so the ability to perform quick and effective  self-rescue and companion rescue is vital,” said Newell.

At www.avalanche.ca, you will find a basic online course, as well as information on introductory and advanced avalanche skills training courses.

“This training is essential for anyone planning to venture into the backcountry in winter,” said Newell.