Skiing safety equipment to own in case of an avalanche emergency - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Skiing safety equipment to own in case of an avalanche emergency

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KENNEWICK, Wash. -- Skiing and snowboarding can get extra dangerous when you go outside the ski resort trails, like the victims in Sunday's case.  There have been 13 avalanche deaths across the US this skiing season.  The survivor in Sunday's tragedy says, she lived because she was wearing a special device,an airbag back-pack which deployed, making her float to the top instead of getting  buried in the snow.

The manager at the REI store in Kennewick, David Berkowitz says they sell  another type of avalanche bag, with tubes so you can breathe in case you get buried. It's called the Avalung, and it runs about $230.

Otherwise, Berkowitz says skiers who go out of bounds are encouraged to always wear a helmet, use a beacon  or  transceiver which send a signal to rescuers, almost like a GPS device.

"In the back country, you're going into a place where you have to be responsible for saving yourself if anything bad were to happen. There's no ski patrol .There's no avalanche control.  You have to know how to test the snow to find out if it is in danger of avalanching.  and you have to carry a lot of additional equipment," says Berkowitz.

Berkowitz also says skiers who go into dangerous areas should always carry a shovel to dig out their friends and  probes, so you can stick them in the snow to feel for the person lost.

The Avalung device can be found in most Seattle sporting goods stores or ordered online.

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