RECCO technology makes you searchable to professional rescuers in the event of an avalanche accident or when lost in the outdoors. Wearing gear equipped with RECCO reflectors enables professional rescuers to locate you with RECCO detectors. The technology is a two-part system, the detector sends out a directional radar signal like the beam of a flash light. Once the radar beam hits the RECCO reflector the signal is echoed back and directs the rescuer to your location.
RECCO handheld detectors, first introduced in 1983, are utilized today as a standard tool for avalanche rescue by mountain rescuers worldwide and are used at more than 800 ski resorts and mountain rescue organizations in 27 countries. The recently introduced RECCO SAR helicopter detector, was designed to scan large areas fast for a missing person in the outdoors. It has been deployed and is operative at several locations in the Alps, North America and Scandinavia, with the goal to increase coverage globally and add constantly more countries and areas to the list. (Check recco.com for the latest coverage info on the RECCO system).
For the user the RECCO reflector offers a simple solution to always be searchable. The reflector is a small band aid sized, passive electronic transponder that weighs less than four grams. Its factory mounted permanently to clothing and gear that in unlikely to be torn off in the event of an avalanche or other accident. This ensures the reflector can’t be left in the car, stashed mistakenly in the lodge or forgotten at home. It is a non-powered device meaning that it never needs to be switched on, will never loose signal strength and needs no batteries to function. It is maintence free and has a virtually unlimited lifespan.
The RECCO technology itself was invented by Mahnus Granhed with the cooperation of Stockholm’s Royal Institute of Technology in response to his personal experience with an avalanche tragedy in the 1970s. In 1983 the first working detector and reflector were presented and since then the system has proven itself effective in avalanche rescue and has been adopted globally by ski resorts, helicopter skiing operations and search and rescue organizations as an additional and important tool for avalanche rescue. When it comes to avalanche safety in general it is important to understand that RECCO technology is only a small part of the bigger picture of actions and equipment to minimize the risk for the user.