Snow and Avalanche Center Awareness, Module 4 - Risk Management

Module Description - Risk Management

Course Overview - Registration


This is the fourth and final module of the General Avalanche Awareness ClassOpens in New Window developed and supported by AlpenPro Opens in New Window and offered here in the Avalanche InstituteOpens in New Window. This module covers risk management - some basic safe travel protocols, safety equipment and rescue, trip planning, and decision making.

This module is based on the Level 1 course, and is to some extent a small subset of that. The additional topics in Level 1 are described at the end of the module for those that are interested.

In our Level 1 Avalanche CourseOpens in New Window each of these factors - safe travel and equipmentOpens in New Window, rescueOpens in New Window, decision makingOpens in New Window, and planning - have their own extensive modules which go into much more detail. Our Climbers ClassOpens in New Window discusses these factors specifically within spring conditions and specifically for climbing (which often involves safe travel trade-offs not common to other activities).


Safe Travel

  • List safety measures for traveling in avalanche terrain
  • Know what the three basic safety equipment items are
  • Know what to do if caught in an avalanche

Small Party Self-Rescue

  • Know the three phases of a beacon search
  • Know what the three types of probing are and when to use each
  • Describe some potential dangers to rescuers
  • List some considerations after the initial rescue from the snow

Trip Planning

  • Identify and locate appropriate planning resources
  • Assess the skills of a group, or specify requirements for a given trip
  • Plan a suitable day trip given conditions and a set of group members

Decision Making

  • List important and unimportant factors for avalanche related decisions
  • Understand the importance of and need for decision support frameworks
  • Know the difference between protocols and judgement
  • Be able to apply the following decision making tools:

    • Bullseye information filtering
    • The Avalanche Triangle and the Red/Yellow/Green light method
    • Checklist methods: ALPTruth, etc


This module puts together the content of the previous three and applies that to risk management - how to minimize your risk and what to do if all else fails and somebody gets caught. The general topics are:

  • How to Travel Safely
  • Small Party Self-Rescue
  • Planning a Safe Trip
  • Decision Making

These topics span four modules in the Level 1 course.



Safe Travel

  • Safe Travel Protocols
  • Basic Safety Gear
  • What to do if Caught


  • Beacon Search Overview
  • Types of Probing
  • Rescuer Safety
  • After the Initial Rescue


  • Identifying and Locating Resources
  • Skills
  • Planning a Day Trip

Decision Making

  • Important Factors
  • Decision Support Frameworks
  • Protocol vs. Judgment
  • Specific Decision Support Tools
    • Bulls-Eye
    • Red/Yellow/Green and the Triangle
    • Checklists

Module Wrap-up

  • Case Studies
  • Module Summary
  • Evaluation and Feedback

Human and technical Resources

This awareness course is not designed to require the kind of human resources our Level 1 course and Climbers course involve. All assessments in this course are online and instantly checked automatically, nothing is ever submitted to any instructor.

This module has limited access to human resources but full technical support. There are some limited ways to contact an instructor and to interact with other students.

You can find tools for human interaction in "Module 0", including forums where you can post comments or questions for any part of this course. Each module has a Dropbox feature for sending files to anyone currently in the course.

While we provide minimal instructional human resources we do want to address any technical questions or problems as quickly as possible. In this case contact us using the Dropbox or on the forum.


There are quizzes incorporated into this course which allow students to check their understanding of the material. Quizzes may be taken as many times as desired, either to obtain a higher score or to attempt to ultimately get a perfect score.

Quizzes are all taken and scored online automatically.

Successful completion of this module requires taking all assessments but there are no minimum score requirements to continue to the next step in the learning path.



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