Sunday, January 11, 2009

Avalanche Deaths in British Columbia Reach 10 This Season


NORTH VANCOUVER – Public Safety Minister John van Dongen launched Avalanche Awareness Days at Grouse Mountain today. The minister was joined by the Canadian Avalanche Association and AdventureSmart teams to demonstrate winter outdoor safety tools and techniques.

“Sixty five per cent of all avalanche fatalities across the country happen in B.C.,” said van Dongen. “That percentage is made very real when you look at statistics that show each and every year, on average, 14 people across Canada die in avalanches and that’s why we need to continue to make the public aware of avalanche risks and how to avoid and mitigate those risks.”

AdventureSmart – a broad range of programs that encourage safe participation in outdoor activities – is managed by the Provincial Emergency Program (PEP) in partnership with the B.C. Search and Rescue Association and the National Search and Rescue Secretariat.

Avalanche Awareness Days runs from Jan. 9-11 and events at Grouse Mountain will also include presentations and demonstrations about the importance of trip preparation, proper training, sport specific safety gear and life safety tips. As well, there are demonstrations where people can learn to use avalanche transceivers, by using them to locate and dig for prizes.

Following a review in 2003, the B.C. government announced funding of $125,000 annually in support of the new Canadian Avalanche Centre. This year, the Province increased that annual funding to the CAC from $125,000 to $140,000, the largest financial contribution from any government source.

So far this winter season in B.C., there have been 10 avalanche-related deaths.

For more information on Avalanche Awareness Days and other outdoor safety information, please visit,, and online.


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