The Vancouver Island Avalanche Centre (VIAC) is gearing up for another season of providing avalanche safety information. Black Press file photo

Black Diamond, PIEPS issue recall for avalanche transceivers

PIEPS said that avalanche incidents in 2017 and 2020 had prompted the recall, but defended the product

Black Diamond has initiated a recall for the PIEPS DSP avalanche transceivers which it is the distributor for.

In a release on Wednesday Mar. 3, the company said it was working with the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (USCPSC)and Health Canada in initiating a fast track voluntary product recall program for the transceivers, specifically the PIEPS DSP Pro, DSP Pro Ice, and DSP Sport avalanche transceivers.

More information on the recall program will be released after the details have been finalized by the USCPSC

Black Diamond is not the producer of the PIEPS transceivers, but is the North American distributor.

PIEPS, which is a European brand, announced a voluntary recall and correct program earlier this week in Europe, South America and Asia in order to “better secure the lock and switch mechanism of its DSP avalanche transceivers.” The North American recall must be approved by the USCPSC.

According to PIEPS, “the correction consists of a new hard-case carrying system to ensure that the DSP Pro, DSP Pro Ice and DSP Sport avalanche transceivers are set to “send” mode before use, and remain locked in “send” mode during use. This new hard-case carrying system replaces the neoprene carrying system that was supplied with the DSP avalanche transceivers, which should now be discarded. The DSP products affected were manufactured between 2013 and 2020.”

Despite the recall and correction action, PIEPS defended it’s products, saying that in-house tests in response to inquiries and accusations of safety faults had shown the transceivers “meet all relevant safety standards.”

Nonetheless it added that it would be following through with the recall in order to shore up consumer confidence in its products.

“Consumers should stop using the DSP transceivers immediately … DSP transceivers should only be used with the new hard-case carrying system.”

Media attention had been focused on PIEPS and Black Diamond at towards the end of last year following a handful of safety incidents, with the transceivers being accused of being faulty and not working as intended leading to difficulty locating skiers caught in avalanches.

Two incidents were referenced by PIEPS as being the reason for the accusations. One in 2017, when a man was killed in an avalanche near Whistler, and another in 2020 when another man narrowly escaped death. In both instances, the transceivers did not work as designed.

READ MORE: Backcountry recreationalists push for recall of PEIPS beacon



scott.tibballs@thefreepress.ca
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