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COSAR tips for back country travel

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December 23, 2014 - 4:28 PM

THOMPSON-OKANAGAN – With the risk of avalanche slowly increasing over the last week in the regions surrounding the Thompson-Okanagan, Central Okanagan Search and Rescue have some tips to help keep you safe in the back country. reports the risk of avalanche to be “considerable” in the Kootenay Boundary and South and North Columbia regions.

The website says up to 50 cm of recent storm snow overlies a prominent surface hoar layer above a thick rain crust in areas higher than 2,400 m.

“The crust/surface hoar interface was very reactive during the storm over the weekend, and still has the potential to produce further avalanches with additional load from new snow or wind, or in response to human triggers.”

COSAR recommends back country travellers tell family or friends where they are going and when they plan to return. Once you are at the location, leave a note on your car explaining which direction you took.

Make sure you have a basic understanding of any equipment you will rely on while outdoors, and don’t travel alone. You should also have enough supplies with you to survive at least 24 hours in the woods.

It is also recommended you start with a fully-charged battery on cell phones and leave it turned out so rescuers can trace your location should you become stranded or injured.

Most importantly, do not wait 24 hours to report a missing or overdue person. Instead of calling friends or family for help, call 911.

“If your loved one has not returned at the time they mentioned and it is unusual for them to be late, call the RCMP and report them missing,” the website says. “The RCMP will contact Search and Rescue. The sooner we start searching the better the chances for a positive outcome.”

COSAR, and other search and rescue agencies, are available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year and there is no charge for a rescue.

For more information on outdoor safety tips and planning ahead please visit the following websites:

Get Prepared - Avalanches
Canadian Avalanche Centre
BC Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure Avalanche and Weather Programs

To contact the reporter for this story, email Adam Proskiw at or call 250-718-0428. To contact the editor, email or call 250-718-2724.

News from © iNFOnews, 2014

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