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Hurricane Ridge, Olympic National Park

Avalanche Training - Training Safety




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Training Safety

Safety for all personnel during training is the first priority. At no time should the concept of burying a live person be treated lightly.

  • All persons buried as subject must have a working avalanche transceiver and radio.
  • The person who buries the subject is responsible for maintaining contact and remaining near the burial site. Radio contact will be checked at a ten minute intervals, maximum. This person is the site manager and shall have a working transceiver and radio. They shall not leave the site without turning over their duties to another person, ensuring that the new manager has the proper equipment to talk to and locate the burial subject.
  • Maximum burial time is 45 minutes. No exceptions unless there are direct air holes to the surface for the subject.
  • For burials deeper than 1 meter, two shovelers should be on site.
  • Safety for the dog in a busy ski area is important. Sharp ski edges can quickly and easily injure a dog who gets in the way of the handler or another skier. Excellent voice and leash control is extremely important. The dog snowplow where the dog stays behind/below the handlerís legs is a good method of control. Bruce in a deep hole - 14K
  • Due to the very public nature of dogs at a ski area, the dog must be well socialized to other dogs and people. No exceptions.

Equal participation in burials is not required. If someone is uncomfortable or uneasy with the idea of being buried in a trench or snow cave, there is no problem. All personnel involved with trainining are encouraged to dig holes, trenches or caves for training. However there should be no requirement to do so if someone is anxious about the task.

Click to enlarge: Bruce standing in one of his trademark giant holes. Note that the access hole to his cave is deeper than he is tall. (24K)


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Text and photos copyright Dan Comden, 1995-2004
Comdens.com home Dan Comden
Seattle, WA U.S.A.
Email -- dan*@*comdens.com (remove the asterisks around the "@" symbol)