If you take nothing else away from this episode when it comes to avalanche safety, please remember this: avoid, avoid, avoid! The best thing you can do to protect yourself from an avalanche is to avoid it! That being said, there is so much more to know. That’s why Russell Bruder is on the podcast today – let’s learn about avalanche safety!
Russell Bruder was born and raised in Pincher Creek, Alberta. His bio is quite extensive, but today we are focusing on his role as a snowmobile, ATV, and UTV Safety Instructor. He is an expert in everything from winter survival, to ATV & Snowmobile Operations, to first aid, CPR, GPS/map/and compass navigation, and Avalanche safety. He has 23 years experience with Pincher Creek search and rescue, and 30+ years of snowmobile and ATV experience.
Know Where Avalanches Are:
For Canadians, check Avalanche Canada, and look at the forecast zones. Always submit information if you know it, to help protect others. Ie. if you see natural slides, or were in waist deep snow, report that.
- Book AST Level 1 or 2
- Contact an avalanche safety trainer
- Take a trainer course (instructor level)
Link for Albertans.
Things You’ll Want to Know/Learn:
- How to recognize avalanche terrain
- How to use a beacon
- What to do with a probe
- How to shovel to rescue someone caught in an avalanche
If You Witness Someone Caught in an Avalanche:
- Watch where the person went down, so you know WHERE to search
- Look out for other avalanches
Reminder: Get educated, so you can jump into action when you need to
Each area has their own avalanche forecast. Ski hills do safety assessments before they open each day.
The Sad Statistics:
- If someone gets stuck in an avalanche (90% of the people triggered the avalanche) and you do not have time to go get help
- You’ll need to companion rescue someone from your group
- The first 15 minutes, chance of survival goes down by 50%. By 45 minutes, 25%. By 1 hour in, 10% chance of survival
- A lot of the people who die in avalanches have beacons, shovels, probes, air bags…half the people who die in avalanches, die from trauma. If you get piled under 15 metres of snow, people cannot get to you before your brain starves of oxygen
Talking to Kids About Winter Safety:
- When they are young, talk to them about how to dress in winter, animal safety, fire safety, and snow!
- Lead by example and prepare for safety, plus don’t put yourself in harms-way
- Point out what to notice, such as pinwheel snow showing signs of instability
Winter safety: If you’re a motor sports enthusiast, you can go farther on an snowmobile in 15 minutes than you could walk in 8 hours. You could go farther in an hour than you could walk in a day. So, from a risk standpoint, ask yourself how quickly someone could get to you if you were in trouble. You may need to be prepared to keep yourself and your family safe overnight, if they couldn’t get a helicopter in!
Some Other Reminders:
- Be prepared!!!
- Watch for hypothermia
- Speak up and listen to your gut if it doesn’t feel safe or comfortable
Podcast: Huberman Lab
Thank you to Headster for supporting today’s episode. Check out https://headsterkids.com for all the awesome style they have to offer!
Today’s Host: @laurenrodycheberle from @kidswhoexplore
Production: @kpmediaproductions. Music: @michaelferraro_music