The French Government has published a recommendation to use avalanche transceiver and RECCO reflector when going off-piste. The recommendation to make skiers and snowboarders searchable to rescuers comes in a winter that has been strongly marked by severe avalanche accidents, like the ones in Les 2 Alpes, Val Fréjus and Val d’Isère.
On January 29, of this year the recommendation was presented in the Journal Officiel, the official gazette of the French Republic. According to Dominique Létang, Director of the French national avalanche organization ANENA, the government’s recommendation is the result of a proposal from ANENA based on a similar recommendation by the International Commission for Alpine Rescue (ICAR) from January 2015.
As the recommendation is published in the Journal Officiel, many organizations connected to the government hopefully will share the importance of being searchable in case of an avalanche accident.
The advice to wear an avalanche transceiver and RECCO reflector is also presented in a new poster called Avalanche Risks: Misconceptions & Good Habits (Risques d’avalanche: idées fausses et bons reflexes). Focus are on the many misconceptions about avalanches and skiing that lead skiers to not recognize dangers.
Dominique Létang, Director of ANENA, explains what it means for avalanche rescue if more skiers and snowboarders are searchable: “If more people are equipped, more people will have a chance to survive!” It will also improve the safety of rescuers who are forced to work in a dangerous environment. “The rescuers will be less-long exposed if people are equipped with transceiver or RECCO reflector.”
In January last year the French Skiing Federation decided to recommend to 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,” said Claude Vincendet, President of the federation’s safety commission.