Photo courtesy CVSAR

Avalanche Awareness Days

Columbia Valley Search and Rescue plans outreach to snowmobile community about avalanche awareness

This past weekend, Columbia Valley Search and Rescue (CVSAR) joined Panorama Mountain Resort Ski Patrol in practicing for avalanche responses and educating the public on safe practices and where to go for information and training. Team members practiced rescue skills such as transceiver searching, probing, and shovelling techniques as well as information gathering procedures like snow profile pits and stability tests. On Sunday, Panorama Ski Patrol set up a scenario for responders to use their skills in a real life simulation as a team.

CVSAR is also planning an outreach and training day in the Forster Creek area to work with the local snowmobile community to promote safe winter travel and avalanche awareness.

This training and working with local commercial operations has proven to be very relevant. In recent years, CVSAR has responded to multiple incidents involving both skiers/snowboarders and snowmobilers in locations outside of ski hill boundaries as well as popular snowmobile areas. Although a helicopter response can work quite well, limited daylight and potential weather issues mean other equipment and techniques are required. To increase our response capabilities, CVSAR has recently purchased two snowmobiles that will allow for teams to reach locations and assist in situations where a helicopter was not suitable. Team members will be undergoing more training to become more proficient with these snowmobiles in challenging terrain where many recreationalists are now travelling.

Anyone recreating in avalanche terrain must carry a transceiver, probe, and shovel and training in recognizing hazards and route finding is highly recommended.

For information on current avalanche conditions and training opportunities please visit www.avalanche.ca

Columbia Valley Search And Rescue

Columbia Valley Search and Rescue is part of the British Columbia Search and Rescue Association which is made up of 80 teams across the province. SAR in B.C. is fully volunteer and responds under direction of RCMP, BCAS, DND, or local authorities and is reimbursed for expenses incurred by Emergency Management BC. Operating expenses and equipment are paid for through donations and grant programs. BCSARA teams respond to 1300 of 1900 SAR incidents in Canada annually and is comprised of approximately 2500 volunteers.

CVSAR can be found on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Donations can be made through CanadaHelps.org or contact columbiavalleysar@gmail.com

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