Item: Will a guest ever be able to save your life?
Title: Will a guest ever be able to save your life?
Proceedings: International Snow Science Workshop, Davos 2009, Proceedings
Authors: Manuel Genswein, Meilen, Switzerland
Abstract: The efficiency of companion rescue with minimal training has been proven in real accidents as well as in large scale field tests where participants with almost no prior rescue experience have been trained in three standardized training modules of 45min. Below the segment of companion rescue by professionals or recreational users who venture on their own into the backcountry, there is the large group of clients from commercial guiding, off-piste and helicopter skiing organizations. Concerning the level of training, available training times, mental and physical preparedness as well as average age, this group is very different from non-commercially guided back country users. The likelihood of the first person entering the slope to trigger an avalanche is proven to be considerably greater than for the rest of the group. Despite this, there is only little effort in training guests in rescue and confidence that they will ever be able to save a guides life. In a field test including guests of commercial ski- and mountain guides the potential level of efficiency was determined during three days in standardized rescue scenarios. The guests were trained in one 15min practical workshop. Then, guests were separated from their guides with the task to search and excavate as a group effort two buried subjects in a 50m x 80m field. Based on the outcome of the rescue scenario, the content of the 15min training session has been optimized in order to achieve the greatest possible rescue efficiency. Data collected in the field included times for coordination, times for each individual phase of the search process as well as the different stages of excavation, plus photos and video documentation. Results show rescue by commercial guests is efficient and residual survival chances are surprisingly high even in a scenario with two buried subjects. The full paper in English is available at www.genswein.com
Keywords: companion rescue, avalanche rescue, search systems, avalanche rescue technology, rescue training
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