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Electromagnetic Interference from Heated Gloves May Compromise Avalanche Transceiver Function

Published:October 06, 2022DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.wem.2022.07.013

      Introduction

      Rapid location of avalanche victims by companions using avalanche transceivers is of utmost importance to prevent asphyxiation. The objective was to determine whether electromagnetic interference from heating elements in gloves worn by rescuers or victims can impair the receiving or transmitting function of avalanche beacons.

      Methods

      Commercially available heated gloves from 3 different manufacturers were examined during a simulated search with 3 common brands of avalanche transceivers. Distance to target beacon at first signal detection and accuracy of direction to target, as indicated by the arrow from the direction indicator, were evaluated.

      Results

      Preliminary tests showed that transmitting and receiving signals are degraded by electromagnetic interference caused by rectangular pulses emitted by activated heating elements. Field tests revealed significantly reduced distances of first signal detection when heated gloves were turned on near receiving avalanche transceivers (P<0.001; Wilcoxon signed-rank test). Decreased distance to target beacon ranged between 1.9 m (5%) and 41.5 m (94%) at first detection, depending on the avalanche transceiver used.

      Conclusions

      Avalanche transceivers are susceptible to electromagnetic interference from gloves with electric heating elements. We do not recommend using heated gloves when performing a transceiver search for avalanche victims because it can lead to a delay in rescue.

      Keywords

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