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ABS. The Avalanche Airbag.
The ABS Avalanche Airbag is an intelligent system used to prevent complete
burial in an avalanche and to survive the accident as unharmed as possible.
The rescue concept: with one pull on the activation handle of the backpack
two airbags will inflate in mere seconds to a total volume of 170 liters. This
additional volume will likely prevent the burial of the carrier. Gas from a
cartridge contributes to the airbag filling. Of course the ABS Airbag can be
re-used after activation. The cartridge as well as the activation handle can
98%* off all avalanche victims with
activated ABS-Avalanche Airbag survived
* Source:SLF, documented avalanche accidents with ABS-Airbag,
ABS Airbags — Frequently Asked Questions
How do they work?
When you see an avalanche approaching, you pull an activation lever which instantly fills two airbags with 170 litres of gas via a cartridge within your backpack. This aids buoyancy and makes it unlikely that the user will become buried under snow.
How does the activation work?
When you pull the activation handle, this releases pressure that causes a pin to pierce the gas cartridge. The gas then fills the airbags, with suction and release valves taking in air from the surroundings to aid inflation. It takes just two seconds to inflate both airbags to a total capacity of 170 litres.
What are they made of?
The airbags are made from nylon polyurethane and the gas cartridges are made from either carbon or steel.
How does the base unit and backpacks work?
The activation handle is attached to the left back strap which connects to the airbags. The airbags fold away into two pockets on either side of the unit. They are connected to the cartridge with an inflated tube which is housed at the top of the unit. The full cartridge screws into the housing. The base unit can zip onto backpacks of varying sizes.
How to fold the airbags back into the pack after activation?
Each airbag has a suction and release valve. After inflation, you lift the cover of the valve and press down on the red button to fully deflate. The airbags will then fold away back into the pockets ready for re-use.
What are the airline rules when taking them abroad?
ABS Airbags are generally permitted on all flights, however it is recommended that you check in all of your equipment and inform your airline at least 14 days before departure.
What to do with used empty canisters?
Used canisters can be re-filled by ABS for a small charge. This can only be done through ABS.
What other brand‘s backpacks are compatible with the ABS base unit?
Only ABS brand backpacks are compatible with the ABS base unit.
Advice on Flying with Airbags
Avalanche rescue backpacks are listed as restricted goods but with prior approval it is permitted to fly with the backpacks and their accompanying gas cylinders. The current IATA regulations permit one backpack, with accompanying cylinder and activation handle, per passenger.
There are a couple of guidelines to follow to ensure your flight goes as smoothly as possible:
Inform your airline that you are travelling with one "avalanche rescue backpack" as allowed in the IATA regulations table. Ask them to confirm, via email (print off a copy of this and take with you when flying).
Print off two copies of the IATA table 23A 2011: put one copy with the airbag and carry the other with you along with your other documents.
Pack the airbag appropriately and check it in as hold luggage. Ensure that the cylinder and or triggers are not attached and that the cylinder has its cap on.
Although the regulations say an airbag may be permitted as hand luggage, we advise not doing so as there have been problems reported attempting this.
You may be called to explain the item, so allow a little extra time for this. If normal security give you any difficulty ask to speak with a manager.
Follow this link to the Current IATA regulations regarding carriage of dangerous goods Print this out and take it with you to the airport. Both ABS and Snowpulse offer advice on their websites for flying with their avalanche bag system.
On the Snowheads website you can find a useful forum discussion of people's experience carrying the airbags on flights
Avalanche rescue backpack, one (1) per passenger, equipped with a pyrotechnic
trigger mechanism containing less than 200mg net of Division 1.4S and less than 250 Ml
of compressed gas in Division 2.2. The backpack must be packed in such a manner that
it cannot be accidentally activated. The airbags within the backpacks must be fitted with
pressure relief valves.
ABS compared to SNOWPULSE
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