Monday, 6 October 2014

Avalanche Airbags, new Research

Pascal Haegli Canadian Avy forecaster and researcher has just published an up to date perspective on the effectiveness of avalanche airbags in TAR based on the research paper by Brugger, SLF, Haegli et al.  Its way too statistic based to get it all on here, but here are "The Take Home Messages"
  • Airbags are a valuable safety device but their impact on mortality is lower than previously reported and survival is not guaranteed.
  • For individuals seriously involved in avalanches of size 2 or larger, the use of an inflated airbag reduces the risk of dying from 22% to 11%.  This means inflated airbags will save about half the victims who would otherwise have died.
  • Non inflation's remain the most considerable limitation to effectiveness of airbags. The overall non inflation rate from all causes is 20%.
  • If non inflation's are taken into account airbags reduce the risk of dying to 13% and the proportion of saved victims is 41%
  • 60% of non inflation's are due to deployment failures by the user. Familiarity with deployment procedures and proper maintenance are paramount for ensuring that airbags work properly.
  • Personal safety benefits from airbags are quickly nullified if users use them to justify increased exposure to terrain where larger avalanches are possible.

Too big an article to put it all on here but never the less it shows the benefits of an airbag.  60% non inflations is a terrible stat and shows why users should practice popping the bag and not worry about the cost, practice re packing according to the correct manufacturer guidance, and pop the bag early if taken.

I chose to retail the BCA Float airbags because they are easy and cheap to get refilled so can be popped as often as you like. There is a lot of keech about one bag or two. Any big bag is just fine, its all about inverse grading and you being a nut.

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