Avalanches kill an average of 42 people each year in North America. Hundreds more are injured. Avalanches don’t just happen to extreme athletes – they can happen to those skiing, snowboarding, snowmobiling, hiking, driving, hunting, bike riding, and more – anyone who can get onto or underneath steep snow-covered slopes. Many avalanche victims don’t know they are in avalanche danger and are unprepared to deal with an avalanche. This doesn’t have to happen – the danger signs are usually obvious to those who know what to look for. Just as those in Hawaii learn about the dangers of rip currents and shore breaks at an early age, those living, working, and recreating in snowy mountains need to learn about avalanches. What they learn can save their lives.
The Know Before You Go Program takes 40-80 minutes and consists of:
- A video showing the destructive power of avalanches and what you need to know to stay safe in avalanche terrain
- A slide presentation by a local avalanche professional with details about how to spot avalanche danger, how to navigate in avalanche terrain, what gear to carry and how to use it, how to find a report of current avalanche conditions in your area, and how to learn more about avalanches
- Discussion with question and answers
The program can be extended to outdoor activities in smaller groups to provide safe opportunities for students to dig and analyze snow pits and to practice with avalanche rescue gear.
School assemblies and classes, community centers, snow sports shops, club meetings, and scout group meetings are all perfect opportunities for presenting the program.