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Press Releases

RECCO Launches R9 Advanced Rescue System with Dual Function Detection

More than 200 Manufactures Globally Integrate RECCO Reflectors in Outdoor Products; Pinpoint Search Capabilities Enhance Avalanche Rescue Efforts

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WHISTLER, B.C. (November 10, 2008). RECCO, the world’s only manufacturer of a unique passive avalanche rescue system for the past 25 years, now introduces the R9. This detector is one-fourth the size and nearly half the weight of previous models, and for the first time tracks signals from both avalanche beacons as well as popular RECCO reflectors. This hand-held device can greatly reduce the time it takes organized rescue teams to locate avalanche victims from the air or the ground.

Searching for someone buried in an avalanche is similar to looking for a needle in a haystack, and traditional methods used by rescue teams are slow and labor intensive. RECCO’s R9 detector provides rescue teams with advanced rescue technology that can make rescuers’ jobs faster, easier and safer, providing another chance for buried victims. In any organized rescue scenario speed and accuracy are paramount for search crews to find buried victims and increase their chance of survival.

Last winter was the second deadliest avalanche season on record with 54 deaths in North America, the result of more skiers and snowboarders heading to the backcountry through access gates at resorts, and heavy snows paired with uncharacteristic variable weather patterns. Many victims were within two miles of a resort or developed area where rescue crews were stationed.

RECCO reflectors are pinky-size tabs built into popular outdoor apparel, ski and snowboard boots, and helmets that return harmonic radar signals emitted by the R9 detector for rapid pinpoint location by search and rescue crews. The reflectors are available in wearable products produced by more than 200 manufacturers, including The North Face, Arc’teryx, Helly Hansen, Volcom, Atomic Ski Boots and PRO-TEC Helmets. The reflectors don’t require a battery and are integrated into product that is worn on the body thus can’t be left behind nor turned off.

Until recent years, RECCO was primarily used by search and rescue crews as a backup system due to the minimal number of RECCO reflectors in the field. That has changed over the past few years as more than 20 million reflectors have been integrated into popular winter sport products. The dual function R9 detector effectively complements the use of avalanche beacons and minimizes the required number of first-responders in the field.

Once on the scene, in a 100m x 100m avalanche field it can take 20 rescuers six to 20 hours with a probe pole to search the 10,000-square-meter area. A single rescuer equipped with the RECCO system can take a quick 10 to 12 minutes to locate victims.

The dual function capabilities of the R9 system allow rescue workers to use a single tool to improve the speed, efficiency and accuracy of their operations. The R9 weighs only two pounds and can easily be carried by ski patrollers, mountain rescuers, and provincial and national park rangers during their patrols. The detector provides straight-line directionality from up to 200m in the air and up to 20m in snow.

RECCO is not a replacement for knowledge or experience in the backcountry. Nor is it intended for companion rescue or as an alternative for a transceiver.

The RECCO system was developed by Magnus Granhed in collaboration with the Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm, Sweden, in 1983 after he lost a friend in an avalanche and experienced first-hand the slow and difficult search and rescue methods of the time. The first live rescue attributed to RECCO occurred in 1987 in Lenzerheide, Switzerland. Today RECCO is used by more than 600 resorts and rescue operations worldwide. To view a list of resorts that use the system and who integrate the reflectors, visit