Non-Avalanche Safety Gear


The ability to move a person, even if it’s just a short distance, can make a huge difference in the outcome of an accident. It might allow you to get out of harm’s way if there’s continued avalanche risk. Maybe you move someone to whfere helicopter access is possible. Or it might be that a short move gets you to where you can set up camp with the warmth of a fire.


Although not a substitute for companion rescue or self-sufficiency, emergency communication is valuable. Many veterans consider e-comm part of their first aid kit. Cell phones may work close to ski areas or along highway corridors. Satellite phones work in most remote locales. VHF radios are an option but require a license. One personal locator beacon (PLB) that’s growing in popularity is SPOT. None are absolutely reliable.

No matter what you use, it’s important to know your rescue options and who you want to talk to. Dialing 911 from a satellite or cell phone is not likely to get you very far – if possible have the phone number of the agency you want. If you don’t have the direct number to the agency you need, ask 911 for your local RCMP and get them to initiate a SAR response.

Also, recognize that all these electronic gadgets come with electromagnetic interference. It’s critically important to keep them separated from your transceiver when transmitting (generally 20 cm minimum distance), and even more important when searching with a transceiver (generally 50 cm – however personal locator beacons like SPOT can interfere with searching transceivers up to 20 metres away).

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