Stockholm, Sweden – (June 15, 2023) – Founded in 1983, RECCO is commemorating 40 years of searchability and innovation in the search and rescue space. The RECCO system has changed drastically since its first iteration, but the brand’s mission has stayed the same — to make more outdoor enthusiasts searchable to rescuers, no matter the activity, location or season.
The RECCO system was created after founder Magnus Granhed was involved in the rescue operations after a tragic avalanche in Åre, Sweden in 1973, where one of his friends was buried. Frustrated by the primitive methods at the time for locating buried victims, the idea for RECCO was born.
His frustration after the accident motivated Granhed to start speaking with professional rescuers in the Alps to better understand how the search process worked in case of an avalanche: “I understood early that an electronic solution was the way to go,” he recalled.
Development started as part of an exciting research project at the Swedish Royal Institute of Technology. Tests were carried out with professional rescuers such as Bruno Jelk, Head of Mountain Rescue in Zermatt at that time, and Beat Perren, founder of Air Zermatt. Their widespread knowledge and experience from hundreds of avalanche accidents provided valuable input to further develop the technology behind the two-part system consisting of a detector that sends out a signal and is used by professional rescuers, and the reflector that bounces back the signal and which is integrated in outdoor products. The first prototype was finalized in the early 1980s. In 1983, 40 years ago, the company called RECCO was founded.
The RECCO system offers a solution to quickly locate outdoor enthusiasts equipped with rescue reflectors. Both detectors and reflectors have been refined and improved over the years. The first detector, the R1, had a weight of about 44 pounds. Today’s detector, the R9, weighs about 1.9 pounds.
RECCO SAR Helicopter Detector – Broadening the market
In 2016, RECCO created another ground-breaking innovation. After several years of development, a helicopter-carried detector was introduced, designed to search large areas faster year-round. The same technique that had been used only for avalanche rescue is now used to locate people that are lost or in distress while participating in several outdoor activities such as hiking, biking, hunting or trail running.
The evolution from a winter to a year-round system has spurred additional investment in the testing and the introduction of new reflectors. Durability requirements are very different if you compare hiking shoes and ski pants, for example.
Development with focus on sustainability
Testing in the lab and the field has always been important for the development of the RECCO system, especially as the technology has broadened in scope from winter to year-round activities. There is also a strong focus and commitment to sustainability when developing new reflectors. Sustainability is paramount when choosing materials and production methods. In order to be a reliable partner for rescue teams worldwide, the development of user-friendly detectors will remain important in parallel with making more people searchable. These two elements remain as equally important today as they were 40 years ago.
To learn more about RECCO’s history and technology, check out this video for more information.
RECCO reflectors are integrated into outdoor clothing and equipment such as helmets, backpacks and hiking shoes from over 150 brand partners including Jack Wolfskin, Arc‘teryx, Helly Hansen, Patagonia, POC and more. For more information, please visit RECCO.com.
RECCO® advanced rescue technology makes outdoor enthusiasts searchable to rescuers in case of an avalanche accident or when lost in the outdoors. The technology builds on a two-part radar system. Rescuers carry RECCO® detectors that send out search signals which are echoed by RECCO® reflectors, carried by the user. RECCO® detectors are used worldwide at more than 900 ski resorts and mountain rescue organizations in 32 countries. RECCO® reflectors are integrated into select apparel, helmets, protection gear and boots manufactured by more than 150 leading outdoor brands. RECCO AB was founded in 1983 in Sweden and is owned by its founder Magnus Granhed and the publicly traded investment company Traction AB (listed on OMX Nordic Exchange Stockholm). More info at recco.com.