Search and Rescue Groups Sponsor Avalanche Awareness Day at RED
On Saturday, January 19, Rossland Search and Rescue held its annual Avalanche Awareness Day just outside the Red Mountain base lodge, assisted by Castlegar Search and Rescue.
In this hands-on, free event, members of the public learned how to use avalanche rescue gear such as avalanche transceivers, probes, and shovels. Those who have not taken an Avalanche Skills Training Class (AST-1) were encouraged to do so, as Awareness Day is simply an introduction and does not substitute for a full-on training course. Avalanche Canada provided free educational materials and stickers.
Both beginners and experienced people practiced using this gear, wading through the snow on a very grey day — including individual Search and Rescue team members who know it’s always a good idea to review.
Other activities included:
• SAR teams demonstrated construction of a quinzhee, which is an emergency winter shelter. [https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quinzhee]
• Castlegar SAR brought their RECCO unit, a technology that helps search for buried subjects who are not wearing avalanche transceivers but have the RECCO reflector manufactured in their ski clothing. [http://www.recco.com/the-recco-system].
• The day ended with an exciting relay race in which teams competed for time and accuracy in all the events, plus packaged and evacuated a “subject” via a rescue sled.
The Search and Rescue groups extend huge thanks to all the volunteers who organized and staffed the day, and to the participants for dedicating time to learn. Thanks also go to Avalanche Canada for the free materials and to Red Mountain Resort for use of their facilities, selected ski patrollers, and for publicizing the event. Finally, thanks to the generous local merchants who donated prizes for the relay races – they are such important supporters of Search and Rescue!