Community Papers

Avalanche Awareness Day

With unusual climactic conditions leading the Canadian Avalanche Centre (CAC) to issue a Special Public Avalanche Warning over the weekend for most of the avalanche prone areas in the province, including the Kootenay Boundary, Saturday’s annual Avalanche Awareness Day training session held at Red Mountain by the Rossland Search and Rescue (SAR) was a timely offering that could potentially help save lives.

The participants at the day-long session ranged from the 1st Warfield Cub Scout troop, who were getting their first experience learning about backcountry safety tips and basic search and rescue techniques, to experienced backcountry ski touring enthusiasts taking the training to keep their skills current.

“I’m just here doing a bit of upgrading, learning, a bit of a refresher,” said Brian Zanussi, a member of the Rossland Fire Department and backcountry skier. “There’s a lot of people going into the backcountry these days and it doesn’t hurt getting a reminder of how to deal with emergencies when you’re out there.”

In addition to basic training with transceivers and in shelter building, participants at the day’s session also received instruction on taking snow profiles to examine the layering of the snow and begin determining the potential for avalanche in an area where they might be traveling.

According to a media release by the provincial government, during two weeks of winter holidays the number of search and rescue incidents in B.C. related to winter recreation activities more than tripled compared to the two previous weeks. Between Dec. 23 and Jan. 5, 298 search and rescue volunteers responded to 34 incidents involving 70 people engaged in recreational activities in the backcountry.

For more information on the avalanche risk in your area and training opportunities go to www.avalanche.ca on the web.

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