EVERGREEN, Colo. (KDVR) — The Alpine Rescue Team has responded to wilderness emergencies since 1959 and now they’re preparing for the winter months to do just that.

Snow in the high country Sunday signifies it’s time for rescue teams to get prepared for the winter months.

The Colorado Avalanche Information Center recorded over 4,000 last year in Colorado. There were 94 people caught in 82 separate avalanches last year in our state. Alpine rescue says the most important thing to get these numbers down this year is education before you hit the mountains.

Dawn Wilson with Alpine Rescue said, “Even though it’s sunny and beautiful out here today we are preparing for the winter. We are getting our avalanche beacons and shovels, probes on our rescue trucks. We are doing training to make sure we are ready and really educating ourselves how to respond in the winter.”

Wilson and the rest of the crew are actively preparing for the winter months and the avalanche rescues to come.

“What we’re seeing is that sometimes people are not prepared for the avalanche danger because they think they’re just hiking and not skiing and they don’t know the avalanche can still be triggered from below if they are hiking with their dog or kids or hiking alone. It can happen to anyone out on the snow slope,” Wilson said.

The biggest thing for the team is to educate so rescue numbers can be few and far between. Regardless, they will be ready for search and rescue missions day or night, 24/7.

Their biggest tip: Know before you go. Make sure someone knows where you are, and if you get caught in an avalanche, be sure to create an air pocket in the snow because in Colorado two of three victims die from asphyxia.

“There’s not much you can do once you’re in an avalanche. It’s gonna fly you down that mountain and once it settles on top of you it’s like being buried in concrete so you’re chances are very slim. This is not Hollywood. It’s not like you can dig yourself out of the snow,” Wilson said.

Alpine Rescue says avalanches can happen in the blink of an eye so it’s important to be sure to check the CAIC report daily before you head out to the high country.