Archive for tag: Public safety education events

SCRG outing with Summit Day Camps


Last Wednesday, February 24th, SCRG members spent the day with kids from the Summit Day Camps to teach backcountry safety awareness.

The day began with a slide show featuring rescue photos from many different specialties of the Summit County Rescue Group: technical rock rescue, swiftwater rescue, avalanche rescue, and basic summer and winter evacuation methods for injured patients. The slide show included information about careers that being a volunteer rescuer can prepare you for, including ski patrolling, emergency medical services, wilderness program instruction and backcountry guiding.

Following the slide show, kids divided into two groups to talk about what a safe backcountry recreationalist should carry in his or her pack. Rescuers went through their own backpacks show-and-tell style, and showed the ten essentials of safe backcountry travel: food, water, extra clothing, some type of shelter, a fire starter, a knife, a whistle, sunscreen and sunglasses, map and compass, and a headlamp or flashlight. The groups also talked about what kids should do if they get lost in the woods: "hug a tree", or stay put, and blow their whistle.

Then the entire group hiked up to Rainbow Lake, where the kids learned how to use an avalanche beacon to find another beacon buried in the snow, and how to build a "quincy", or an above-ground snow cave, to stay warm in a survival situation. Each of the kids had a chance to practice with a beacon and to crawl into the quincy and check it out before we called it a day and hiked back to the school.

f you have a school, scout or other children's group that might benefit from a similar program, don't hesitate to get in touch with us! To inquire about or to schedule an educational event with the Summit County Rescue Group, email us at

Photo: Kids learn how to "hug a tree" during a similar visit to Summit Day Camps by SCRG back in the summer of 2008. Photo by Denise Fair.

Two more free avalanche rescue clinics scheduled for this season

The Summit County Rescue Group offers free avalanche rescue clinics to the public throughout the season. The clinics focus on companion rescue, and are appropriate for all levels of experience. Participants rotate through four stations: a beacon practice station, a probe and shovel technique station, and two avalanche scenarios.

The clinics are held at the Meadowcreek Trailhead in Frisco, from 1:00 to 4:00 pm. There are two scheduled dates left for this season:

Sunday, March 14
Saturday, April 3

To register or for more information, email

Photo by Shari Topping of the Summit County Rescue Group

SCRG's first free avalanche rescue clinic for 2010 a great success

On Sunday, January 10th, the Summit County Rescue Group held its first free public avalanche rescue clinic for this season. The clinic, which was held at the Meadow Creek trailhead in Frisco, attracted 50 attendees.

Participants in the clinic rotated in groups through four stations: a beacon practice station, a shovel and probe technique station, and two full-on avalanche rescue scenarios in which dummies were buried, some with beacons and some without. Because there were more than ten rescue group members in attendance to help out, instructors were able to accommodate participants of any experience level, from rookies to experienced backcountry recreationalists.

Colin Dinsmore, a rescue group member who leads the clinics, commented, "There have been many avalanches in Colorado so far this season that involved companion rescue with not a single fatality. People seem to be more interested in taking avalanche classes this year, and with good reason."

The next clinic is scheduled for Sunday, February 7th. To register or to ask questions, email

Photo by Shari Topping.

January public avy clinic Shari 2

SCRG preparing to participate in Copper Skier Safety Week (1)

Copper Mountain Resort's annual Safety Week, which is held in conjunction with the National Ski Area Association's Safety Awareness Week, is scheduled for Martin Luther King weekend, from January 16th to 18th. The Summit County Rescue Group will participate in this safety education event for the second time in 2010.

The event is held mainly in the Burning Stones Plaza in Copper's Center Village, where there will be booths hosted by the Copper Ski Patrol/Safety Zone, Woodward at Copper (to promote terrain park safety), Saint Anthony's Medical Center (to promote helmet safety), Copper Fire Department, and the Summit County Rescue Group. Flight for Life will land at Copper Patrol Headquarters, at the top of the Excelerator and Super Bee lifts, at 10:00 am on Saturday, with a bad weather back-up date of Sunday at 10:00. Guests can get a tour of the helicopter and talk to the flight nurse and pilot.

SCRG's booth will focus on backcountry safety, and especially avalanche awareness. Skiers new to backcountry skiing can learn about basic safety gear and safe travel techniques, and more experienced backcountry skiers can do some practice drills with an avalanche transceiver. At 12:45 each day, there will be a live demonstration by an avalanche dog. That's an event that the kids won't want to miss!

Booths are open each day from 8:30 to 1:30, and those who visit all of the booths and get their safety awareness cards punched at each station will be entered into a drawing. The drawing will be held at 1:00 each day, and will feature prizes such as lift tickets, tubing hill tickets, lodging and dining certificates, parking passes, safety gear and various schwag.

Photo by Chris Sutton.Copper Safety Chris Sutton

SCRG announces 2010 schedule for free public avalanche rescue clinics

The Summit County Rescue Group will once again offer free avalanche rescue clinics to the public this year. These clinics focus on teaching the skills of companion rescue to backcountry recreationalists of all experience levels.

Avalanche burial victims almost never survive as long as it takes for professional rescuers to arrive on scene. Your best chance for survival, if you are buried, is to be found and dug up by the people with you.

This three-hour clinic includes beacon techniques and practice, probe and shovel techniques, and a run through one or two avalanche scenarios, where you'll get a chance to practice your new skills in a realistic situation with other clinic attendees playing the role of your companions.

The 2010 dates for the clinics are:

  • Sunday, January 10th
  • Sunday, February 7th
  • Sunday, March 14th

All clinics run from 1:00 to 4:00 pm, with the location to be determined. To register, email, or call Colin Dinsmore at 978-302-7889.

Photo by Tim Faust.

Avy seminar 2006 Faust 2


The Today Show visits SCRG avalanche seminar

The Summit County Rescue Group has put on an annual avalanche seminar for 35 years now. The seminar is attended by rescue groups from all over the Rocky Mountain region, and it consists of a classroom day and a field day, over a weekend, focused on avalanche rescue. Both a basic and advanced class are offered, and during the field day participants rotate through stations including beacon search, snow pits, probe lines and hasty team, followed by a full avalanche rescue scenario.

This year, about three weeks before the seminar, we got a call from an associate producer at the Today show. She said she was working on a story about avalanche technology and whether it caused backcountry recreationalists to take more risks. She also wanted to lead into the nationally hot topic of charging for rescue. The Summit County Rescue Group and the mountain rescue group in general strongly oppose charging for rescue and we welcome the opportunity to be heard on the topic, so we said come on over, we'd love to have you!

On December 6th, in negative 15 degree temperatures and high winds, we welcomed the producer, a correspondent and a camera crew to our field session near the backside of Chalk Mountain. We were impressed at how the crew toughed out the weather, despite two of them being from Southern California! The correspondent interviewed Charlie Shimanski, president of the Mountain Rescue Association; avalanche expert Dale Atkins, formerly of the Colorado Avalanche Information Center and also with Alpine Mountain Rescue and Recco; and Seth Morrison, pro skier, who talked about what it's like to be buried in an avalanche. The camera crew got some great footage of all of the training stations and the final scenario, and then we buried the correspondent in a snow cave with a camera to capture a victim's point-of-view of being buried and then dug out by an avalanche dog.

Stay tuned and we'll let you know when the spot is going to air on NBC.

Photo: The Today Show camera crew filming an avalanche dog demonstration.  Photo by Tracy LeClair.


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