NEWS

Avalanche Awareness Day spreads safety message

01/20/2013 09:16 EST | Updated 03/22/2013 05:12 EDT
Hundreds of people visiting Mount Seymour on Vancouver’s North Shore Sunday got reminders about B.C. backcountry safety as officials staged an Avalanche Awareness Day to try to help save lives.

About 80 per cent of avalanches in Canada occur in B.C., and it is avalanche season.

There has been only one avalanche death in the province this winter season, making it a relatively safe season, so far. On average, about 14 people die in avalanches across the country every year.

The message Sunday was straightforward: if you head into the back country, bed prepared with at least a shovel, a pole and a transceiver.

The gear will help you dig out, find someone else in order to dig them out, or be found and dug out by others in the event you or people with you are caught in a big snow slide.

Better yet, always remember the 10 backcountry essentials:

- Use the right gear and equipment.

- Have a safety plan and share it with family.

- Carry a GPS satellite unit.

- Emergency first aid kit.

- Flashlight.

- Fire-making kit.

- Extra clothing.

- Extra food and water.

- Emergency shelter.

- Pocket knife.

"People are starting to get it,” said Sandra Riches, a co-ordinator with Adventure Smart.

“We want people to understand that they have to take some responsibility and learn a little bit more about avalanche safety. If this is where they're choosing to play, in the backcountry, in the snow in the winter time, either snowshoe, or backcountry skiing, they have to have the proper training and knowledge and know how to use the gear they're carrying.”

The Canadian Avalanche Centre plans more Avalanche Awareness Days on other local mountains this winter.

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