Item: Avalanche probing revisited
Title: Avalanche probing revisited
Proceedings: Proceedings of the 1996 International Snow Science Workshop, Banff, Canada
Authors: Tim Auger and Bruce Jamieson, Banff Park Warden Service, Box 900, Banff, Alberta TOl OMO, Canada, Dept. of Civil Engineering, University of Calgary, Calgary, Alberta, Phone 403-220-7479, Fax 403-282-7026, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
Abstract: Avalanche probing is still required to search avalanche deposits when other rescue means such as transceivers are unavailable. For many years the most common method employed by organized rescue teams in western Canada has been the technique known as coarse probing. In coarse probing the rescuers line up elbow to elbow and probe the snowpack once per step as the line of probers advance. This technique produces a pattern of probe holes on a 75 x 70 cm grid. The probability of detection ranges from 20% for a vertically oriented victim to 95% for a prone or supine victim and is considered to average 76% (Schild, 1963, 1974). The idea behind coarse probe spacing recognizes the need to sacrifice some thoroughness to improve the speed of probing and thus maximize the chances of recovering a victim alive. The decision to employ coarse probing reflects the sort of trade-offs or risk-management familiar to the modern incident commander. In avalanche searches requiring manual probing the problem, in simple terms, is how to get as many holes into the snow as fast as possible. This paper examines two possible means to improve the speed and efficiency of probing in rescues where there is still a possibility for live recovery. Limiting the depth of probing is discussed and several alternative probing techniques are compared.
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Keywords: avalanche probing, avalanche deposits, avalanche victim
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