Tourism dept organises mock drill on ‘avalanche accident rescue’ at Gulmarg

Tourism dept organises mock drill on ‘avalanche accident rescue’ at Gulmarg
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GULMARG: The Department of Tourism Kashmir in association with Indian Army on Saturday organised a mock drill at Ski Patrol Base, Kangdori to impart necessary skills to the ski patrol team regarding avalanche accident rescue operations.
Various agencies including army, Institute of Skiing and Mountaineering, ski guides, police, Ski Patrol Team were imparted training on how to evacuate victims hit by avalanche.
Early in the morning, an avalanche was triggered at Kangdori top where in few dummies were buried under the snow debris to be evacuated.
Live demonstration exercises were conducted as how to probe snow to find victims and how to dig them out and take to a safe place on stretchers for first-aid.
Many rescue groups were formed of 10 members each equipped with avalanche probes who set out to find the victims. Another group with skis demonstrated skills operating rescue sledges to extricate injured person from the slope and safely deliver to patrol base.
Assistant Director Tourism Gulmarg, Ifham Shah supervised the mock drill activity.
Speaking on the occasion, Snow Safety Officer of the department of tourism Brian Newman said the ski-patrol team has been trained to be prepared for any eventuality during the avalanche.
“The first and the foremost thing for the skiers is to avoid avalanche prone areas. However, if skiers are struck with avalanche, we have kept initial response team stationed on mountain tops that respond to the accidents and find the victims quickly,” said Brian.
The Department of Tourism Kashmir has also been organising avalanche awareness talk on every Tuesday at Gulmarg where in Brian Newman provides advisories on avalanche prone areas to the skiers.
Director, Department of Tourism Kashmir, Mahmood A Shah said Gulmarg receives skiers from different parts of the world who are not aware about the avalanche prone areas and how to safely negotiate any avalanche.
“We have been issuing avalanche advisories and also hosting avalanche awareness talk every week to make skiers aware about the hazards during skiing. This mock drill is part of our endeavour to have quick response team to evacuate skiers in case of any eventuality,” said Director Department of Tourism Kashmir.
Scores of the skiers also watched the live demonstration and appreciated the efforts of the department for keeping ski-patrol team ready at mountain tops.
Justine Anne from Australia said the drill has helped her to know how to respond during avalanche.
“I have been skiing at many places in the world. But it is for the first time, I have watched such activity which will be fruitful during skiing,” she said.