FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

FAQs
IAS

Here you will find an overview of questions about the IAS

AIRBAGS AND AVALANCHES

The operating principle is based on a segregation process that takes place in an avalanche. The relatively smaller parts move downwards, while the larger, more voluminous parts move upwards. This sorting principle is called inverse segregation. According to this principle, the volume of a person is increased with the aid of an airbag to such an extent that sinking under the snow cover is prevented.

According to a study by the renowned Swiss avalanche research institute SLF, athletes carrying an airbag and caught by an avalanche are still at considerable risk of being buried. In the cases in which an airbag could be triggered, there is a 50 percent probability that the person will be partially or completely buried despite the deployed airbag. Overall, 60% of people who wear an airbag and are caught by an avalanche get buried by the masses of snow. Source: Tschirky et al., Eidg. Institut für Schnee- und Lawinenforschung SLF (2000)

The disadvantage of avalanche airbags lies in avalanche accumulation areas. If a person is in the outlet zone of an avalanche, at the foot of a slope or a trough, the principle does not apply, as the segregation process only takes place in flowing masses. If a person is caught by an avalanche in these accumulation areas, the protective effect is completely lost. Furthermore, it can be observed in post-avalanches that the post-flow of snow masses also results in a loss of the buoyancy function.

There is only a realistic chance of survival with fast rescue or life-prolonging methods below the snow cover. As the average recovery time by beacons is above the critical phase of 18 minutes, the buried person must be able to breathe in the avalanche and thus increase the survival time.

Unfortunately, the average recovery time using an avalanche beeper is well above the critical time phase and at least 20 minutes. If several people are buried, the rescue time is significantly extended. Without beacon there are generally very bad chances for a timely rescue.

In 2014 a comprehensive study conducted that the risk reduction from conventional avalanche airbags is “smaller than previously assumed”. Unfortunately still 13 out of 100 people who are caught by an avalanche and wearing an conventional airbag die. (Haegeli et al. in Bergundsteigen, 3/2014).

With a complete burial, the chances of survival, according to the burial depth, depend primarily on the recovery time. If the rescue takes place in the first 18 minutes, there is a survival probability of 91%. After this period, the probability of survival decreases extremely rapidly, leading to a drastic drop in the survival curve and, in most cases, suffocation.

INTEGRATED AVALANCHE SYSTEM

The Integrated Avalanche System is a simple yet revolutionary innovation that is activated and released with a single handle. The IAS combines an avalanche airbag with an innovative breathing system that makes it possible to breathe under snow in the event of a burial, thus significantly increasing the chances of survival. The heart of the breathing system is also the deployment handle of the avalanche airbag, which activates both systems simultaneously. During activation, the handle, in which the mouthpiece is integrated, is separated from the shoulder strap and guided to the mouth. Thanks to the simultaneous activation, two life-saving systems can be accessed within seconds.

The aim of the respiratory system is to extend the survival time of an avalanche victim by separating inhaled and exhaled air. The danger of an avalanche burial is not the lack of oxygen, but the rebreathing of the carbon dioxide. Even the snow of a dense wet avalanche contains at least 50% air. Therefore, the system takes advantage of the sufficient air contained in each avalanche and ensures that the buried person does not inhale the CO2 again. The air is sucked out of the snow through special blades and a plasma-coated filter on the handle. The exhaled CO2 is separated by a valve system and discharged at the back of the backpack. This enables a survival time of up to 60 minutes.

One handle – two life-saving systems. As the world’s first integrated avalanche rescue system, the IAS counteracts the actual burial by means of an airbag and, with its breathing function, includes a rescue system that enables people to survive beyond the critical 18-minute limit under the snow masses – with just one movement. Due to the simultaneous activation of the rescue systems, the IAS is the only system worldwide that enables the user to activate two rescue systems simultaneously. In spite of the additional safety plus through the breathing unit, the weight increases only minimally. The combined application of the IAS modules can compensate for a malfunction of the airbag and thus maintain the protective function. The ergonomically optimised design and special grip surfaces on the deployment handle ensure the highest possible deployment safety.

  • Ultralight. Weight handle/breathing system incl. Hose 150 g
  • Scientifically confirmed breathing time under snow of over 60 minutes
  • Plasma-coated high -end breathing filter
  • Ergonomic design and grip surfaces for maximum safety
  • Anatomical mouthpiece with integrated velum for maximum bite force transmission maximum distance between inhaled and exhaled air
  • immediate separation of inhaled and exhaled air
  • Full function even with shallow breathing
  • Anti-freeze valves
  • Neoprene-coated breathing tube for maximum comfort and insulation
  • Single-system use for long tours (breathing system can also be used without airbag)
  • Activation for right and left-handers (Bowden cable and mouthpiece individually adjustable)
  • Can be activated as often as you like, even without cartridges

In the very short time window between avalanche descent and the capture of a victim by the avalanche, the combination of deployment handle and breathing supply in one unit represents the only realistic possibility of activating two different rescue modules.

The mouthpiece was developed to withstand high forces and to guarantee the highest safety standards. The anatomical design allows the full bite force to be transferred to the mouthpiece. Specially shaped velums are used to ensure that the mouthpiece can be kept safely in the mouth.

Avalanche breathing systems have proven to be a lifesaver for many people. The requirement is an intuitive activation movement. The activation and movement to the mouth must therefore be practiced. The system can be activated without cartridges as often as needed with the same haptic effect as a “real activation”. So practice sufficiently often before you set off for the backcountry.

The breathing system itself weighs only 150 grams and thus only slightly more than the lightest airbag systems. The entire IAS consisting of airbag and breathing system weighs only 840 grams and is thus one of the lightest rescue systems on the market – with a strong plus in safety of two life-saving systems.

Yes. We’ve developed 3 years to ensure the highest level of security possible. The system is tested by the independent test centres TÜV-Süd and Dekra Exam and is certified according to the strictest safety standards.

No. The standard equipment belongs in the rucksack of all people who go in the backcountry.