Doing a professional course is good advice, Moni, and that should be done unconditionally.
But it's not true that most victims die if they are caught. People have a good chance to survive if found in the first 15 minutes after the event.
Just an example from Austrian season 2004/2005:
.) 148 avalanche events were reported (assumption is, the number of unreported events is 2-3 times as high, where the mountaineers helped themselves and didn't report to police or mountain rescue teams),
.) at these 148 events 353 people were buried,
233 of them were found non injured, most of them in the first 15 minutes,
72 of them were found injured but survived (most of them also found in the first 15 minutes)
48 died (most of them caught in the snow for more than 30 minutes).
However, back to the question:
If someone needs to buy her/his first scanner this season, I think the best currently is Pieps DSP. It is easy to use and has the currently best multiple burial search mode.
It costs around 320 Euros (basic model, without compass, temperature display and altimeter) and from my point of view is worth every cent.
You can find a review <a href="http://www.telemarkski.com/html/rvw_lib01_495015.html"><b>here.</b></a>
Maybe next year, when Ortovox comes out with their revolutionary new scanner <a href="http://www.ortovox.com/typo7/index.php?id=12&L=1">Ortovox S1</a> the cards will be played differently again: