RECCO®: You may never use this gadget. But it might save your life

How can a tiny reflector help rescuers?

The RECCO® search system has two parts. A passive reflector that you always carry as part of your clothing or equipment reflects signals to transmitters that rescuers use to search for climbers or skiers buried in an avalanche.

The transmitter has a range of up to 20 meters when covered in snow, but the more reflectors you wear, the easier it is for rescuers to find you when necessary. The advantage of the RECCO® reflector is its global application - this most widespread rescue system is used by more than 900 ski resorts and rescue organizations in 32 countries.

How do I check if my clothing has a functional RECCO® system?

You may not notice the reflector on your clothes at first glance. Although it weighs less than 4 grams, it lasts a lifetime. The reflector does not need to be replaced, recharged or maintained in any way, it functions as a passive part of the RECCO® rescue system. 

In particular, make sure you have one on you if you are planning on skiing, off-piste skiing, or any activity in a challenging mountain environment with an increased risk of avalanches. Look for the RECCO® logo on clothing: for example, on trousers it is usually below the level of the ski boot, on a jacket look on the sleeve or on the back under the hood.

Northfinder products with RECCO® reflector

What else can I do for better safety?

Keep an eye on the weather, level of avalanche danger, and don't rely on just one rescue system. The RECCO® reflector is a passive form of protection that will show your location to professional rescuers when needed. When buried by an avalanche, however, the first 10 minutes are crucial - an active avalanche transmitter can increase the chance of survival. Tune it to the same frequency as your ski buddies. When buried, they can often be the first to your location before rescuers arrive.

The RECCO® search system is the most widespread rescue system in the world. It speeds up the search for endangered, lost, or injured persons in rugged terrain. The system is based on a passive reflector that can be part of clothing or equipment and an active detector used by professional rescue teams. Through response, it is possible to determine the location of a tourist or cyclist in the mountains, a skier in avalanche rescue, or the location of canoeists on wild water. Transmitters are constantly improving, and currently, most European ski resorts have not only handheld transmitters but also a detection system using a transmitter on a helicopter. The effective range of the transmitter under snow cover is up to 20 meters. In the case of off-piste skiing or ski touring in challenging mountain terrain with an increased risk of avalanches, monitor the weather, the level of avalanche danger, and use a proven avalanche locator and additional equipment.