Avalanche Search and Rescue Advanced Skills

 
**NEW for the 2019-20 season: The Avalanche Search and Rescue Advanced Skills Theory (AvSAR Theory) course and AvSAR Practical Skills Assessment (AvSAR PSA) have been combined into a 4-day course: Avalanche Search and Rescue Advanced Skills. Those students that have not completed the AvSAR PSA (meaning they have already completed the AvSAR Theory portion of the course in a previous season) will have the opportunity to do so in the 2019-20 season. See the 2019-20 Course Schedule for details.**
 
The Avalanche Search and Rescue Advanced Skills course (AvSAR Advanced Skills) is a 4-day professional-level course and assessment. 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. Students will also be assessed on their skills on the final day of the course.

The AvSAR Advanced Skills 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.

  

Visit the course calendar for course dates, locations, location-specific details, and registration information.

Program Goals

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

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 prerequisite due to similar training and experience can apply to waive the prerequisite using the Prior Learning Assessment application. Please see the details of this option on the PLA Application webpage.

Registration Process

If you have met the prerequisites listed above, then you may register online for the AvSAR Advanced Skills course of your choice (if available). Visit the course calendar for course dates, locations, location-specific details, and registration information.

 

Note that full payment for the course 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.

  • Avalanche Operations Level 1 Certificate or an approved Prior Learning Assessment 1
  • 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) or a Letter of Intent
  • For those students that have already completed their AvSAR Theory portion of the course in a previous season and will only be registering for the AvSAR PSA, a copy of your AvSAR Theory Certificate is required at the time of registration. 

1 Applicants wishing to have prerequisite waived due to similar training and experience can apply to waive the prerequisite using the Prior Learning Assessment application. Please see the details of this option on the PLA Application webpage.

Course Fees and Funding Opportunities

The following are 2019-20 course fees and locations:

 

Whistler: $1028 (includes lift access)

Revelstoke: $1028 (includes lift access)

Fernie: $1028 (includes lift access)

 

AvSAR Practical Skills Assessment (AvSAR PSA)-(ONLY available to students that have already completed the AvSAR Theory or AvSAR Response in a previous season) all locations: $205

 

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

  

Full payment for the course is due at time of registration.

 

Grants/Scholarships:

The Avalanche Canada Foundation offers yearly 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

Upon registration all students will receive a confirmation e-mail that contains links to the course's logistic information. Alternatively you can click on the course's title in the course calendar to view logistic 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. A link to the required equipment list is provided in the registration confirmation email. 

 

Use the sample course schedule to help anticipate daily needs.

 

Course Evaluation

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 and 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 to pass the written exam. 

  

Verbal feedback is also provided on the technical skills practiced during the course in preparation for the Practical Skills Assessment on the final day of the course. Students are welcome to ask instructors questions they have regarding the AvSAR PSA during the course, and are given time to practice these skills throughout the course in preparation for their assessment.

 

The AvSAR Practical Skills Assessment 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 to pass. There can be no “Does Not Meet Requirements” in any category in order to pass.

 

Students that successfully complete both the written and practical exams will receive an Avalanche Search and Rescue Advanced Skills Theory and Practical Skills Assessment certificate upon completion of the course.

  

**NEW for the 2019-20 season: The Avalanche Search and Rescue Advanced  Skills Theory (AvSAR Theory) course and AvSAR Practical Skills Assessment (AvSAR PSA) have been combined into a 4-day course: Avalanche Search and Rescue Advanced Skills. Those students that have not completed the AvSAR PSA (meaning they have already completed the AvSAR Theory portion of the course in a previous season) will have the opportunity to do so in the 2019-20 season. See the 2019-20 Course Schedule for details.**

 

 


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