FRENCH SKIING FEDERATION RECOMMENDS ITS MEMBERS TO USE RECCO
In January the French Skiing Federation decided to recommend all its 130,000 members to wear RECCO reflectors to be searchable in case of an avalanche accident. “At a low cost, the kids will always carry a locating device,” says Claude Vincendet, President of the federation’s safety commission.
In the statement the French Skiing Federation says that avalanche beacon, shovel and probe are essential but RECCO reflectors are the minimum permanent equipment to make it possible to locate an avalanche victim. With beacons and RECCO reflectors the chances increase to save lives in case of an avalanche accident.
“This is a part of the prevention work as well as talking about safety in the clubs. However, it is not a guarantee and does not exempt them from carrying an avalanche beacon. You have to learn about safety and the avalanche danger very young,” adds Vincendet, who is also president of the Sports Club of La Norma.
What are the advantages with the RECCO system?
“The fact that the RECCO reflectors are integrated in the skier’s gear, like boots, helmets, jackets, pants etc. at a low cost, the kids will always carry a locating device, and in all the ski areas the ski patrols are equipped with RECCO detectors. All the parents are unanimous, it would be a pity not to be equipped,” says Vincendet.
Are the groups equipped with beacons for avalanche rescue?
“Only exceptionally. If it’s in the program, we can book beacons for everyone at the ski school or borrow them for example from the army here in La Norma. Otherwise it is too expensive and logistically difficult to equip 60 young people. You also need to consider the management of the batteries,” says Vincendet.
According to Vincendet, the club members regularly go off-piste. He adds, “That’s a fact. The very young club members, those 7-14 year olds who grow up in a ski resort, go off-piste either together with their instructor or when they ski between two slopes, since they know the ski area well. They like it since freeride movies are very popular.”
Within the collaboration framework between French Skiing Federation and RECCO, the clubs are now offered RECCO reflectors for those cases where RECCO reflectors are not already integrated in the members’s clothing or equipment. In addition, RECCO’s safety leaflet “The Plan” will be available for the clubs.
What do you think about manufacturers who integrate reflectors into their products?
“It’s an asset, a safety parachute. That way the skier is at least searchable. Which is not the case in 50 percent of the accidents in a ski area,” says Claude Vincendet.
Several other French organizations have recommended their members use RECCO reflectors, including the French national avalanche organization ANENA (Association Nationale pour l'Étude de la Neige et des Avalanches) and the two ski school organizations ESF (Ecole Française de Ski) and ESI (L'école de ski international).
FOR MORE INFORMATION:
Johan Sauer, VP RECCO AB
Tel: +46 (0)70 655 95 99
RECCO® is an avalanche rescue system utilized by more than 800 rescue organizations worldwide to facilitate the rapid location of burials. The two-part system consists of a detector used by organized rescue groups and reflectors that are integrated into apparel, helmets, protection gear or boots. Together they enable directional pinpointing of a victim’s precise location using harmonic radar but are not a substitute for a transceiver. Complementary in function, the system is an additional tool that does not interfere with avalanche dogs, transceiver searches or probe lines. The RECCO® system facilitates a faster organized search and increases the chance of being found in time. RECCO AB was founded in 1983 and is owned by its founder Magnus Granhed and the publicly traded investment company Traction AB (listed on OMX Nordic Exchange Stockholm). More info on: www.recco.com