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Avalanche death a safety reminder

The recent death of a backcountry user in an avalance near Valemount, BC, has prompted a safety reminder.

The members of the backcountry party all carried the essential safety gear for avalanche situations - transceivers, probes and shovels - however they were unable to locate the victim for over three hours.

It is critical to locate an avalance victim quickly to increase their chances to survive.

"Avalanche victims have an 80 per cent chance of survival if found and dug out within 10 minutes of burial, but the odds drop dramatically after that," says Canadian Avalanche Centre (CAC) executive director Gilles Valade. 

"After just 35 minutes, there's less than a 10 per cent chance of survival."

The CAC and the BC Coroners Service (BCCS) remind all winter backcountry users that familiarity with their avalanche transceiver is vital in emergency situations.

The devices are intuitive, but it is important to practice using them to be proficient in an emergency situation.

It is recommended that backcountry users take a two-day Avalanche Skills Training course to learn essential safety skills. After learning the skills, it is critical to keep practicing them before entering avalanche terrain.

 

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