Avalanche Search and Rescue Program

 
The Avalanche Search and Rescue Program is divided into two components:
  • Theory and practice - Avalanche Search and Rescue Advanced Skills course. 
  • Technical skills - Practical Skills Assessment.
The Avalanche Search and Rescue Advanced Skills (AvSAR Advanced Skills) course (formerly called Avalanche Search and Rescue Response) is a 3-day professional-level course. The course is designed to teach participants the hazards associated with avalanche search and rescue, and how to apply advanced AvSAR techniques and strategies. This will help students and organizations in preparing to respond to AvSAR incidences.

The course is intended for industry professionals and advanced search and rescue
volunteers seeking hands-on technical training in avalanche rescue techniques and strategies. Best practices in avalanche rescue are delivered by current practitioners and materials are updated regularly with input from industry, manufacturers, and instructors.

The course is delivered primarily in the field, with a combination of demonstrations and practice stations. Students must complete a significant amount of reading prior to course start. A sample course schedule shows the general progression of course topics.

 

Once AvSAR Advanced Skills students have mastered the theory and skills demonstrated on the AvSAR Advanced Skills course they are eligible to take the AvSAR Practical Skills Assessment (AvSAR PSA). This assessment is a separate 1-day evaluation of the participant's technical skills and will be offered at the completion of each AvSAR Advanced Skills course. HOWEVER, it is recommended that students take this assessment at a later date in order to have sufficient time to practice and master the techniques and strategies learned during the course. The Practical Skills Assessment (PSA) is optional for those not pursuing the Level 2 program and is a requirement for those attending the Level 2 Module 2. As a result, the Practical Skills Assessment (PSA) will be offered immediately preceding each Level 2 Module 2. 

 

Visit the course calendar for course dates, locations and registration. Course dates and locations for the following year are posted in the Spring. Course registrations opens online Monday July 3, 2017.
* Proof of Prerequisites (see below) must be uploaded during the registration process and full course payment is taken. 

 

Please note: student are responsible for their own transportation on the course.

Program Goals

For each course the Canadian Avalanche Association creates specific course goals and learning objectives. These reflect industry standards and current best practices and are updated accordingly. The Avalanche Search and Rescue Advanced Skills course goals and objectives are displayed in the AvSAR Advanced Skills DACUM. If you are unfamiliar with DACUMs please read the document "Learn what a DACUM is and why it is important".

Prerequisites

AvSAR Advanced Skills Course

Applicants must have and prove at time of registration:

  • CAA Avalanche Operations Level 1 or similar training and experience1; OR
  • Currently working in a professional or volunteer capacity for an agency or organization with an organized AvSAR response capacity (RCMP, DND SAR Techs, PEP, mechanized and non-mechanized skiing, ski areas, Parks, highways, etc.).
  • Incident Command System (ICS) 100 course (e.g. free course - Alberta Emergency Management Agency ICS-100 or U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency ICS-100) *

* For those who have not yet completed this course you can submit a Letter of Intent during course registration.

 

Recommended:

  • 80 hour First Aid certificate

1 Applicants wishing to waive a prerequisites due to similar training and experience should apply to waive the prerequisite using the Prior Learning Assessment application. Students can register for the AvSAR Advanced Skills course while a PLA application is under review. Please see the details of this option on the PLA Application webpage.

A PLA reference form will need to be submitted on your behalf: PLA CAA Professional Reference Form or CAA Non-CAA Professional Reference Form.

 

AvSAR Practical Skills Assessment (AvSAR PLA)

Applicant must have and prove at time of registration:

  • AvSAR Advanced Skills course certificate or an approved Prior Learning Assessment (see above 1).

NOTE: The AvSAR Advanced Skills course became a prerequisite for the Level 2 Module 2 course in 2014. The AvSAR Practical Skills Assessment (AvSAR PSA) became a mandatory pass element in 2017.

Application/Registration Process

AvSAR Advanced Skills Course: If you have met the prerequisites listed above then you may register online for the AvSAR Advanced Skills course of your choice (if available).

 

AvSAR Practical Skills Assessment (AvSAR PSA): Registration for the AvSAR PSA is separate from the AvSAR Advanced Skills course. If you have met the prerequisites listed above then you may register online for the AvSAR PSA of your choice (if available).

 

Course and assessment locations and dates are posted each Spring. Online registration generally opens in early-mid June. Visit the course calendar in early Spring for the exact registration opening dates. For 2017 registration will open online Monday July 3.

 

Full payment for a course/assessment will be taken at time of registration.

 

You will be required to upload a scan or JPEG of the following document during your registration process. Without them you will be unable to complete your registration.

 

AvSAR Advanced Skills Course:

AvSAR Practical Skills Assessment:

1 Applicants wishing to have prerequisites waived due to similar training and experience should apply to waive the prerequisite using the Prior Learning Assessment application. Students can register for the AvSAR Advanced Skills course while a PLA application is under review. Please see the details of this option on the PLA Application webpage.

A PLA reference form will also need to be submitted on your behalf: PLA CAA Professional Reference Form or CAA Non-CAA Professional Reference Form. A DACUM for the self-assessment can be found in Student Resources. We aim to take 2 weeks to review a PLA application to waive a prerequisite but in busy times this may take longer.

Course Fees and Funding Opportunities

****The following are 2017-18 course fees. Note that prices are now location-specific to reflect ACTUAL costs associated with course locations****  

 

AvSAR Advanced Skills Course:

Whistler: $775 (includes lift access)

Revelstoke: $722 (includes lift access)

Jasper: $764 (includes lift access)

 

An additional $100 registration fee is applied to international students to account for shipping costs.

 

AvSAR Practical Skills Assessment:

All locations: $225 (includes lift access)

 

Full payment for the course and/or assessment is due at time of registration.

 

Grants/Scholarships:

The Avalanche Canada Foundation yearly offers scholarships for students for a variety of courses. There is also an Alberta job grant and a Golden Area scholarship. Many local employment centres and/or SAR groups can also help with local funding opportunities.

Course Equipment and Materials

AvSAR Advanced Skills Course:

Upon registration all students will receive a confirmation e-mail that contains links to the course's logistical information. Alternatively you can click on the course's title in the course calendar to view logistical details.

 

Students will be mailed a program package1 that includes:

  • An AvSAR Advanced Skills Student Manual & readings.

1 It is the student's responsibility to contact the CAA office if they have not received this package 1 month prior to course start. The package will be mailed to the address you provided during your online registration.

 

Pre-course readings, questions and tasks take approximately 20+ hours, and must be completed prior to starting the course. Students will also need to be familiar and well versed with their transceiver functions.

 

The AvSAR Advanced Skills course is a mixture of classroom and field based learning. Students will alternate between inside and outside daily. Please refer to the sample equipment list as a general guideline. There will be a venue-specific equipment list, in your digital logistics letter you receive with registration, for what to bring to course. Make sure to read this list carefully and bring all mandatory items. 

 

Days on the AvSAR Advanced Skills course can be long and it is the student's responsibility to take care of their personal needs. This can include classroom snacks, proper clothing and ensuring they are well rested ready to learn.

 

Use the sample course schedule to help anticipate daily needs.

 

AvSAR Practical Skills Assessment:

Upon registration all students will receive a confirmation e-mail that contains links to the assessment's logistics information. Alternatively you can click on the assessment's title in the course calendar to view logistics details. There will be a venue-specific equipment list, in your digital logistics letter you receive with registration, for what to bring to the assessment. Make sure to read this list carefully and bring all mandatory items. You will also be given digitally a student assessment guide to help you prepare for the skills you will need to demonstrate.

 

Please do not hesitate to contact the ITP Manager at the CAA office if you have any questions regarding the assessment: 250-837-2435, itpmanager@avalancheassociation.ca

Course Evaluation

AvSAR Advanced Skills Course

The assessment of student learning in the AvSAR program is broken into two parts: theory and technical skills. The theory portion is assessed by a final written exam during the AvSAR Advanced Skills course. This exam has a combination of multiple-choice, matching and short answer questions. Questions will cover material in the student manual, classroom lectures and field portions of the course. Participants must achieve a mark of 71% or higher in order to pass the written exam. Students will receive an AvSAR Advanced Skills Theory certificate upon successful completion of the written exam.

 

Verbal and/or written feedback is also provided on technical skills practiced during the AvSAR Advanced Skills course. Students are welcome to ask instructors questions they have regarding the AvSAR Practical Skills Assessment.

 

AvSAR Practical Skills Assessment (AvSAR PSA)

The AvSAR PSA is a mandatory element of the Level 2 program and must be successfully completed before being granted a Level 2 course certificate. For those students not pursuing the Level 2 program this is an optional assessment.

This is a one day examination where technical skills are assessed. Exam scenarios and their associated marking schemes are introduced during the AvSAR Advanced Skills course and are described in the Practical Skills Assessment guidelines document. An AvSAR PSA Student Resource document will help students prepare for the assessment. Students must obtain a minimum of “Fully Satisfactory” in two out of four categories in order to pass. There can be no “Does Not Meet Requirements” in any category in order to pass. Students will receive an AvSAR Practical Skills certificate upon successful completion of the exam.

 

 
 

 

 

Box 2759, 110 MacKenzie Ave
Revelstoke, BC Canada, V0E 2S0
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Fax 866-366-2094
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