Item: On the practical use of avalanche beacons - the austrian transceiver test 2001
Title: On the practical use of avalanche beacons - the austrian transceiver test 2001
Proceedings: 2002 International Snow Science Workshop, Penticton, British Columbia
Authors: P. Holler and F. Gibler, Federal Office and Research Centre for Forests, Institute for Avalanche Research, Innsbruck, Austria, Austrian Consumer's Association, Vienna, Austria
Abstract: The development of new avalanche beacons in the last years was the motive to initiate a test of electronic transceivers by the Austrian Institute for Avalanche Research. The project was carried out in 2001 in cooperation with the Austrian Consumer's Association (VIa) and the Austrian Institute for Home and Leisuretime Safety. Seven different types of beacons were tested under comparable conditions in the laboratory as well as in the field. Goal of the project was to provide relevant information for backcountry skiers, off-piste skiers and snowboarders; moreover a folder was printed to help people when buying a new transceiver. The investigations in the lab were concentrated not only on technical measurements (including measurements on the energy consumption of the different transceivers) but also on practical tests (e.g. how is the battery capacity indicated, how can the beacons be used with gloves... ). For the field work a standardized test was developed, which had to be comprehensible and objective on the one hand, and as efficient as possible on the other hand. The search tests were carried out with three different groups of individuals (1. skiers without knowledge on avalanche beacons, 2. backcountry skiers with a basic knowledge and 3. professionals). In total about 130 persons took part in the search tests. The participants were also asked to fill out a questionnaire. So it was possible to get additional information on operation instructions and handling of the transceivers. The results were described with marks ranging from 1 (very good) to 5 (not sufficient). All beacons passed the tests. However, only one beacon got a "1" in the technical as well as in the practical test, two beacons got a "1" in the technical test and a "2" in the practical test; the marks of the other transceivers were between "2" und "3".
Keywords: avalanche accidents, avalanche rescue, avalanche beacons
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