This time of year certainly brings unique challenges for responders. Winter weather injuries are mostly unique to the season and to effectively treat them responders must be ready. In certain parts of the country, responders must also be prepared to respond to avalanches. The following Community and Hypothermia resources are free. There is a cost to attend the Avalanche courses.
The National Weather Service offers general community education resources designed to raise awareness of the of cold weather. You can also access additional preparedness information, as well as outreach < ahref="http://www.nws.noaa.gov/om/cold/outreach.shtml">booklets and brochures for your community. These materials can be provided, free of charge, to members of your community for education and training on cold weather safety.
The Search and Rescue Society of British Columbia has a plethora of hypothermia resources on their website. Responders can access links to learn more about Prevention, Treatment and Recognition of Hypothermia, hypothermia articles from the CDC, statistics on hypothermia deaths in Alaska, a Guide to Hypothermia and Cold Weather Injuries, a special report on hypothermia and many more great, informative links. The Search and Rescue Society also provides access to informative downloads on Cold Injuries & Cold Water Near Drowning Guidelines, Hypothermia – Physiology, Signs, Symptoms and Treatment Considerations, and Hypothermia – SPECIAL SITUATIONS by Andrew D Weinberg, MD.
The American Institute for Avalanche Research and Education (AIARE) is a fantastic resource to learn more about avalanche response and they also offer avalanche training. AIARE developed and continues to develop standardized curriculum for a complete program of avalanche courses that meet the needs of students at all levels. They have created and continue to create course materials for instructors and students to maximize the effectiveness of both teachers and learners. AIARE offers the following training courses:
Avalanche Rescue Course
This is a one-day stand-alone course that is intended to be retaken on a regular basis in order to keep abreast of best practices in rescue techniques and gear. New participants will learn the basics of companion rescue, while return participants will expand their skill set with advanced topics and realistic scenario practice to help improve their skills after the course.
AIARE 1- Decision Making in Avalanche Terrain The < ahref="http://avtraining.org/aiare-level-1/">AIARE 1 is a three-day / 24-hour introduction to avalanche hazard management. Students can expect to develop a good grounding in how to prepare for and carry out a backcountry trip, to understand basic decision making while in the field, and to learn rescue techniques required to find and dig up a buried person (if an avalanche occurs and someone in the party is caught). There is required AIARE 1 pre-course study
This course consists of three parts and is for individuals who enjoy recreation in the backcountry.
• How to prepare for backcountry travel with seasonal and daily routines • How to use planning tools and checklists to facilitate communicating and making decisions as a group in order to reduce risk • How to do a companion rescue • Techniques to continue to improve their rescue skills after a course completion
AIARE 2- Analyzing Snow Stability and Avalanche Hazard
The AIARE 2 is a three-day/24-hour course that provides backcountry travelers an opportunity to advance their decision making skills in more complicated situations such as being a leader within a small travel group, traveling in more complicated terrain, and/or developing a travel plan where online resources are scarce. The AIARE 2 builds on the introductory avalanche hazard management model introduced in the AIARE 1 and adds to it the evaluation of critical hazard assessment factors. Students will describe and discuss weather, snowpack and avalanche processes, and identify how these processes relate to observations and travel within avalanche terrain.
The entire Decision Making in Avalanche Terrain Program includes seven days of classroom, field, and self-paced online training. The curriculum is typically delivered in the following parts: Avalanche Rescue (1 day), the AIARE 1 (3 days), and the AIARE 2 (3 days).