Anne St. Clair and Pascal Haegeli
Proceedings of the 2023 International Snow Science Workshop in Bend, Oregon
Publication year: 2023

Click here to download Anne’s paper.


Making decisions about how to design, revise, or discontinue public avalanche safety products and programs is not a simple or straightforward task. However, there are currently no system-atic approaches supporting these decisions, and existing performance measures (e.g., fatality counts) fall short in helping service providers meaningfully understand what works well, in what circumstances and why, and importantly, how interventions can be improved. Our aim is to contribute to this gap by developing an approach that supports public avalanche safety decision-making in more constructive ways.

In this paper, we share our preliminary findings from a literature review that explored relevant existing approaches and frameworks in other disciplines with similar challenges to ours, including risk governance, public health, natural hazards risk communication, resource and environmental management and policy studies. What emerges is a systems thinking perspective, which prompts a comprehensive and detailed look at the systems’ principal components, interactions, and defining characteristics. The resulting characterization of the public avalanche safety system sets the stage for better understanding how the system works and how interventions could be improved. Embedding this systems thinking perspective within a practical planning model like the PRECEDE-PROCEED model from public health has great promise for making informed decisions about how to further improve avalanche safety. This work provides a useful starting point for developing a new approach to intervention planning and evaluation.