On November 5, 1995 UO students Frank Allard and Michael Casey were caught in an early winter blizzard while backpacking on a private trip in the Three Sisters Wilderness in Oregon’s central Cascades. As a result of whiteout conditions, they failed in their attempt to return to their base camp, and succumbed in the storm.
The Allard and Casey Memorial Safety Library was created by the UO Outdoor Program and the Associated Students of the University of Oregon (ASUO) in response to this tragic accident. This library makes a variety of state-of-the-art wilderness safety and rescue gear available for the use of the student body at no cost.
General Safety Philosophy
The library makes outdoor safety equipment available to UO students in order to lessen the risks inherent in wilderness travel. Ultimately, safety is your responsibility. Utilize all your resources: outdoor skills and experience, proper equipment, common sense and good judgment, careful planning, and weather awareness.
The safety and rescue equipment available from this library is one component of the total safety effort. You should never make a decision where success counts on the usability, accuracy, or effectiveness of any electronic equipment; this means that you should not undertake an activity with electronic aids that you would not undertake without those aids. Work with your group members and use good judgement alongside your safety equipment.
Personal Locator Beacons (PLBs)
PLBs are used to send an emergency signal when you are in distress or danger. Once activated a signal is sent to emergency services (9-1-1) and search and rescue procedures begin.
Ortovox F1 transceivers are available to aid in locating persons buried by avalanches. A video is available for training purposes. The best way to avoid an avalanche in the first place is to select a safe route and observe avalanche warnings.
Avalanche Probes and Shovels
Both sectional probes and lightweight shovels are available. This equipment is essential in addition to the transceivers for locating and extracting persons buried by snow.
VHF radios are exclusively used on the water, primarily sea kayaking and sailing. They have a range of between 15–30 miles, and are useful for obtaining marine weather forecasts and communicating with the Coast Guard and other boats.
Garmin Global Positioning System units are available for use as navigational aids in wilderness travel. Utilizing satellites, the system is accurate to within 300 feet. The most common use of GPS units is to aid a traveler in returning to a particular point. They are also extensively used in sailing.
Books and Videos
A wide variety of instructional videos and books are available at the library. Topics include mountain rescue, avalanche awareness, river rescue, GPS instruction, and wilderness first aid among others. The materials are available on a reference room basis. A copy machine is located at the library.
The gear is available for any UO student or Outdoor Program participant to use on outdoor adventure activities. There is no charge for any of the gear, although any cell phone use must be reimbursed. Users are also responsible for any lost or damaged equipment.
If you are planning an outdoor adventure and wish to take advantage of the library, stop by the Outdoor Program on the corner of 18th and University street to learn about what is available, and begin to familiarize yourself with the technology.
Allard and Casey Memorial Safety Library Sponsors
The following companies have graciously assisted the library through discounts and donations.
- Backcountry Access