Avalanches kill on average 39 people each year in North America. Hundreds more are injured. Avalanche awareness and education are key for backcountry users to have fun and stay alive.
Friends of the Colorado Avalanche Information Center (FoCAIC) and the Utah Avalanche Center (UAC) are re-launching Know Before You Go (KBYG), an avalanche awareness program across North America.
The KBYG program was developed in 2004 to raise avalanche awareness among inexperienced backcountry users, particularly those in junior high and high school. Since then nearly 200,000 people have seen the presentation in Utah alone. For many, KBYG is their first exposure to avalanche education.
Ethan Greene, Director of the Colorado Avalanche Information Center said “Avalanches kill, on average, 39 people in North America each year, but with a little education many of these accidents can be prevented. Know Before You Go is an exciting and entertaining education program that will help our kids stay safe while they are living, working, or playing in the mountains.” According to Paul Diegel, Executive Director of the Utah Avalanche Center, “Just like Hawaiians learn the basics of tide and current safety at a young age, those living or playing near snow-covered mountains need to learn about avalanche safety. This program is not just for kids, either‑‑thousands of adult skiers, snowboarders, snowmobilers, hikers, hunters, and others have learned from this exciting program."
Over the past several months FoCAIC and the UAC have worked diligently to put together an updated version of the Know Before You Go Program in partnership with Avalanche Canada, Backcountry Access, The National Avalanche Center, the American Institute of Avalanche Research and Education (AIARE), and the American Avalanche Association (AAA) to create a North American standard for introducing avalanche awareness. In an hour participants will see the destructive power of avalanches, understand when and why they happen, and how to have fun in the mountains while avoiding avalanches.
“Working with the Utah Avalanche Center on the revamp of Know Before You Go has been very exciting for us. The collaboration has allowed us to develop a consistent program across two great avalanche center’s education programs.” Says Aaron Carlson, Executive Director, Friends of CAIC.
For more information or to schedule your free Know Before You Go program, please contact Utah@kbyg.org in Utah, KBYG@Friendsofcaic.org in Colorado, and firstname.lastname@example.org elsewhere. Check out www.kbyg.org for additional details.