Enhancing Hazard Awareness with a Mobile Application for High Risk, High Consequence Avalanche Terrain Decisions

Gale1, K., and Jenkins2, M.

Presented at the International Snow Science Workshop (ISSW), Breckenridge, CO (October 2016)

The avalanche industry understands that to save lives, we need to understand human behavior. The scientific discipline most directly affiliated with human behavior is behavioral science. The avalanche industry has a unique opportunity to collaborate with behavioral science leaders to reduce avalanche fatalities and increase safety. Much like the lessons learned in aviation, medical, and other domains, it has been proven that training in human factors has positive effects. For example, one study by the FAA found reduction of judgment errors were reduced by up to 50% through human factors training.  Thus, linking the avalanche industry with the behavioral science and scientists can yield very positive benefits. Though it is unfortunate the linkage to date is weak, this paper outlines how to move forward and more tightly couple the avalanche and behavioral disciplines, motivated by a quick history of the underpinnings of avalanche research.

1 US Nordic Ski Patrol
2 Charles River Analytics

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