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Journal Article


Lunde A, Njå O. Cold Reg. Sci. Technol. 2019; 165: 102774.


(Copyright © 2019, Elsevier Publishing)






In Norway, snow avalanches hitting roads are a considerable safety challenge for the rescue services. Previous studies have given rise to concern about the rescuers´ levels of exposure to avalanche risk during these missions. The safety of the rescuers must balance a quick and lifesaving response. The ability to meet both demands constitutes the performance of the rescue service. In the period 2010-2014 the rescue services registered 58 avalanches hitting public roads in Norway. The study reported in this article includes all those events. It explored the characteristics of the rescue missions and which risk indicators that contributed to overall risk to rescuers' health and victims' survival. 45 out of these 58 incidents were analyzed using organizational risk indicators. Risk influencing factors (RIF) and other relevant variables were then included in a Bayesian Belief Network (BBN) in order to model both the associated risk and the overall performance of the rescue service. The analyses showed that rescue management in the alert phase, professional assessment of avalanche conditions, and continuous risk assessment are the most important RIFs to control when aiming at an effective and safe rescue operation. In addition, actions to control undue haste and over-commitment, and enhance risk awareness will contribute to increased safety in this line of rescue work.

Language: en


Avalanche rescue performance; Bayesian Belief Networks; Rescuer safety; Risk assessment and management; Risk indicators


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