DENVER, COLORADO – The Colorado Avalanche Information Center (CAIC) in collaboration with Colorado Mountain College (CMC) has introduced a groundbreaking tool aimed at enhancing outdoor safety in Colorado’s mountainous regions. The Avalanche Accident Explorer, an interactive map, was officially launched on December 14, providing detailed information on fatal avalanche accidents in Colorado since December 2009.
Governor Jared Polis praised the initiative, emphasizing that safely navigating Colorado’s great outdoors is intrinsic to the state’s identity. “The Avalanche Accident Explorer makes avalanche information more accessible, aiding both Coloradans and visitors in safer exploration,” he said. The governor also commended the collaboration between CAIC and CMC students as an exemplary blend of real-world learning and public safety enhancement.
Developed by Dara Seidl, Associate Professor of Geographic Information Systems at CMC Leadville, alongside students Lucy Kepner and Joe Tayabji, the tool is a product of their intensive work in data visualization. Seidl noted the significance of the partnership with CAIC, highlighting it as an opportunity for students to apply their GIS skills meaningfully for the community’s benefit.
The tool allows users to explore data on fatal avalanche incidents with various filters, including travel mode, aspect, elevation, and avalanche type. This functionality aims to provide a comprehensive understanding of where and how these tragic incidents occur.
CAIC Director Ethan Greene expressed gratitude for the collaboration. “This interactive platform is not just about sharing information; it’s about enabling people to learn from it,” he stated. Greene believes that the tool will play a crucial role in public safety by helping individuals visualize and understand avalanche accident data.
The Avalanche Accident Explorer is available on the CAIC website (www.colorado.gov/avalanche) under the Accidents menu. The CAIC also provides extensive statistics and reporting for those seeking more information.
Avalanche Awareness and Safety Tips
- Check the Forecast: Always consult the avalanche forecast for your area before heading out.
- Get Educated: Invest in avalanche safety training to understand risks and safety protocols.
- Carry the Right Equipment: Ensure you have essential avalanche safety gear, including a beacon, shovel, and probe.
- Stay Alert: Be aware of your surroundings and changing weather conditions.
- Travel Smart: Follow safe travel practices in avalanche terrain, like crossing slopes one at a time.
- Have a Plan: Always inform someone about your trip details and expected return time.
For more detailed information on avalanche forecasts and safety measures, visit the CAIC website at www.colorado.gov/avalanche. Remember, being prepared and informed is your best defense against the unpredictability of avalanches.