(File Photo)

(File Photo)

‘Winter is a lot less forgiving than the summer’: SAR gives tips for winter safety

Fernie SAR notices increase in backcountry excitement for the upcoming winter

The team at Fernie SAR is offering the public a few tips on how to stay safe while adventuring.

“The winter doesn’t always give you two chances, so you want to make sure that you know what you’re doing when you head out,” said Piney, who encourages people new to backcountry winter adventure to fully inform themselves.

“Every one will tell you that backcountry touring gear is sold out, sleds are sold out, fat bikes are sold out – and we strongly support everyone’s enthusiasm to get out there, but the winter is a lot less forgiving than the summer.”

Piney’s overwhelming message for the winter is to always leave trip plans with friends.

“It’s super important that when we deploy we know where we’re going and what we’re doing… a search is very time consuming, (whereas) a rescue we can be extremely precise.”

Piney added that SAR strongly encourages people to call early, adding that winter calls often come in when the sun goes down, which can make certain rescues more perilous.

In the event of a winter emergency, Piney reminds the public to keep injured persons warm, to make oneself visible to rescue teams, to always rely on satellite phones and never cell phones, and to organize sites prior to rescue. Piney added to always stay away from landed helicopters, and to trust that SAR helicopters will always come back even if they disappear for a minute.

“We’re never giving up, we’re just going off to work out how we’re going to do it,” said Piney.

“Our overall message is that we’re going to come get you out of there, but it may take a while and be prepared for that.”

Piney encourages the public to always call for rescue when in doubt about emergencies.

READ MORE: FAR ski patrol urges shredders to ride safely


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