Know Before You Go: An Avalanche Education Program for Young Adults in Utah
Click HERE for the online version of the very entertaining, 15-minute, Know Before You Go video.
Click HERE for the online video of the PowerPoint presentation by the ever-enthusiastic, Craig Gordon
Click HERE for the 2009-10 Annual Report.
For more information or questions please contact Craig Gordon: 801 231 2170
A critical need exists for basic avalanche education for junior high through college age students in Utah. Just like students in Hawaii learn about the dangers of rip tides and shore breaks at an early age, students in Utah need to learn about avalanches. The rising numbers of young avalanche victims have demonstrated an obvious need for basic avalanche education. We hope that the Know Before You Go avalanche education program will become a regular part of the curriculum in Utah schools from junior high through college age students.
|This free program is designed as a 50-minute program in three parts:
- A 15-minute, narrated video showing avalanches, people triggering avalanches and the destructive power of avalanches.
- A local avalanche professional will tell their story about close calls or accidents they have had as they learned about avalanches.
- A 15 -minute PowerPoint presentation about the basics of how to recognize avalanche terrain, recognize obvious signs of instability, safe travel practices, the basics of avalanche rescue equipment and self-rescue procedures, and where to obtain information about current avalanche conditions.
The Know Before You Go program would be taught in participating schools as an annual assembly, to any gathering of younger outdoor enthusiasts such as Boy Scout troops or to outdoor recreation programs at universities. The program is designed as a turnkey operation in which local avalanche professionals such as ski patrollers, ski guides and avalanche educators will give the presentations.
The Know Before You Go avalanche education program is administered by the Friends of the Utah Avalanche Center, a non-profit, tax-exempt organization which raises private funding for the Forest Service Utah Avalanche Center (FSUAC) and promotes avalanche safety in Utah. The staff of the FSUAC will supervise the project. The FSUAC staff is nationally recognized as leaders in avalanche education and the communication of critical avalanche information to the public.
- Utah is famous not only for the Greatest Snow on Earth, but also for its avalanches. One and a half million Utah residents live immediately adjacent to some of the most dangerous and easily accessible avalanche terrain in the United States.
- Over the past eight years, nine young snowboarders have died in avalanches in Utah. Nationally, avalanche fatalities continue to rise at an alarming rate.
- On the day after Christmas of 2003, fourteen people were recreating near Aspen Grove in the runout of one of the largest avalanche paths in Utah during one of the most intense snowstorm Utah has experienced in several years. Three young snowboarders died in a massive avalanche. Even the most basic avalanche education could have prevented these deaths.
Forest Service Utah Avalanche Center
The Forest Service Utah Avalanche Center has operated since 1980 and provides daily backcountry avalanche and mountain weather information to the public who recreate in Utah’s backcountry. The Utah Avalanche Center is recognized as one of the top regional avalanche centers in North America. The Utah Avalanche Center staff has appeared on over a dozen national and international documentaries about avalanches and is regularly featured on most of the national news networks. In addition to forecasting duties, the UAC staff teaches dozens of avalanche courses throughout northern Utah each season and is in high demand as avalanche educators. The center is co-located at the National Weather Service Forecast Office near the Salt Lake City Airport.
|The Know Before You Go program was introduced into the Utah school system by contacting principals and district superintendents. 80 presentations were given in the 04-05 season and nearly 12,000 students saw the program. Topics discussed meet core curriculum standards in the science, physical education, and health fields. In its first year, this pilot program received tremendous accolades by teachers, administrators, students, and parents alike. The success of this program could stand on the merits of the shear volume of students that attended the presentations. Though in addition, it has received awards from the US Forest Service and the media outlets did numerous feature stories about the program both locally and nationally.
|Finally, The Know Before You Go program has been reviewed and accepted by the Utah Board of Education health and physical education specialist.