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 by trauma,
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, your 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.
|Steve and Teammates
Transport an Avalanche Fatality
Digital transceivers display
a distance indicator
which estimates the distance to the victim in
meters. Digital transceivers with
multiple antennas also display a
that points to the transmitting beacon (transceivers with one
antenna cannot display a directional indicator).
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 zigzagging
(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 hazard.
BeaconReviews.com contains the largest collection of technical
information regarding avalanche transceivers in the world. However,
if you find all this technical information overwhelming, you can
jump to the summary.