Device cuts avalanche rescue time

Jan. 8, 2006 at 6:44 PM

JACKSON HOLE, Colo., Jan. 8 (UPI) -- Seconds can mean the difference during an avalanche, and a U.S. manufacturer has developed a device it says can shave seconds from rescue times.

The Speed Probe 300, a 10-foot stick that collapses to 16 inches for portability, is used to look for avalanche victims, the New York Times reported Sunday.

"When you've got someone buried under snow, every second is important," said John Scott, executive vice president at Life-Link, in Jackson Hole, Wyo.

The device is used to poke holes in the snow left by an avalanche. Bamboo rods had been used to probe avalanche areas, but were burdensome for the skier.

Scott says other metal probes can bend in some conditions, but Life-Link upgraded the metal used in its device to aluminum alloy 7075, often used for aircraft components.

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