you are buried by an avalanche, wearing a transceiver can help people find you. However,
it will not prevent you from being buried, it will not prevent you from being killed
and it will not prevent you from suffocating while buried. (Of course, if you are killed
by an avalanche, a beacon will make it easier for rescuers to recover your body.)
Avalanche transceivers (a.k.a. "beacons") can either transmit or receive
a signal (hence the name
trans-ceiver). In normal operation, the transceiver is set to transmit a signal. If
somebody gets buried by an avalanche, other people search
for the buried victim by switching their transceivers to receive mode. Note that
everyone who was not buried by the avalanche must switch to receive mode or the
searchers will inadvertently search for somebody on the surface.
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Transport an Avalanche Fatality
Analog transceivers let you hear the audible beep
when in receive mode. You then search for the strongest signal. Almost all analog transceivers
also display a visual indication of the signal strength.
Digital transceivers display a
distance indicator which estimates
the distance to the victim in
meters. Digital transceivers with multiple antennas
also display a directional indicator
that points to the transmitting beacon (transceivers with one antenna cannot display
a directional indicator). Some digital transceivers start in analog mode and switch
to digital mode (with a directional indicator) when they get closer to the victim. Some
transceivers can be manually toggled between analog and digital mode.
The basic search technique is to travel a zigzag-like pattern on the surface of the
snow until a signal is received (the signal search)
and to then follow the directional indicator toward the victim (the
coarse search), and finally use the distance
indicator to locate the victim (the fine search).
A transceiver's range determines the appropriate
search strip width for the zigzag (typically 30
to 50 meters).
When you are within a few feet of the victim, you use an avalanche
probe to locate the victim. When you locate the victim with your probe, you use
a shovel to unbury them.
Special techniques are required to locate multiple
victims. The technique you use depends on your training and the type of transceiver
you own. Locating multiple victims is relatively complicated. It is preferable to use
safe travel techniques to limit the number of people who are exposed to the avalanche
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