Agencies conducting avalanche training Saturday, Sunday

Posted: Friday, December 11, 2009

HATCHER PASS, Alaska - The Alaska Mountain Rescue Group, along with multiple search and rescue organizations, will conduct a large avalanche training exercise in the Hatcher Pass area, this coming weekend, Dec. 12 and 13. The Alaska State Troopers will also be participating in the exercise by assisting with logistical support and resources.

The first day will consist of skills training for avalanche response. Stations include training on helicopter and snowmachine safety, avalanche transceiver search practice, probe searching and the extrication and medical care of avalanche victims.

The second day will encompass several mock avalanche scenarios that participating search and rescue organizations must collectively respond. The operations will involve establishing an incident command post, staging field teams and responding to simulated avalanche accident areas in the surrounding mountains to locate, assist and transport buried subjects with simulated injuries. This training enhances collaboration between the different search and rescue organizations and emergency responders in the event of real avalanche missions.

An incident command post for this training will be established at the Independence Mine Parking Lot on Hatcher Pass, with Saturday avalanche skills stations occurring in and around that parking lot. On Sunday, mock avalanche scenarios will be occurring in the mountains around the Independence Mine State Park and Hatcher Pass area.

Users in the area are advised that snowmachines and two helicopters will be operating in the area on both days of the training exercise. The upper portion of the Independence Mine Parking lot will be closed to visiting public to provide parking for SAR personnel.

AMRG is asking the public to avoid flagged areas and slopes above where rescue personnel will be training. Motorists are advised to slow down and use caution when driving to Hatcher Pass due to possible congestion.

For more information regarding the training, contact Bill Romberg, Alaska Mountain Rescue Group, (907) 240-8543 or the Alaska State Parks: (907) 745-3975.

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