Tips on Avalanches – how to behave properly

If you inevitably fall into an avalanche, you can increase your chances through proper behavior. These include optimal use of equipment, prevention of early loss of control and protection against injury. Here are tips for you and helpers team.

5 tips for proper behavior in an avalanche situation:

  1. Try to stay on your feet and steer sideways out of the avalanche.
  2. If there is no chance to escape (which is usually the case), disconnect yourself from skis and ski poles in good time. Boards and poles not only increase the risk of injury but also the danger of being buried deeper.
  3. The dropping of the sticks has priority! If the hands are in the loops, the following safeguards are probably not feasible.
  4. If necessary, operate the equipment (avalanche airbag, avalung vest) and, try to keep the surface of the avalanche with swimming movements.
  5. Create a cavity in front of your mouth and nose with your hands before the dense snow stops and you have no room to move. In addition, you should try to take a squat position: arms in front of the chest, hands as a breathing cavity in front of the mouth and nose.

Those who have been completely buried seldom have the opportunity to free themselves. But the snow is too dense and the range of motion is too small. It does not matter if you are 20 centimeters or 2 meters below the surface. Of crucial importance, however, may be the depth for the helpers.

Important: Rescue operations must start immediately because of every second count. Anyone watching the avalanche from a distance should try to keep an eye on those affected and their final position. The exact knowledge of the situation is the most important prerequisite for a timely recovery. This observation can, therefore, save lives, especially if no avalanche ball marks the position of the person concerned.

7 tips for avalanche helpers:

  1. Go to the suspected burial point and try to determine the exact position of optical or acoustic signals. Pay attention to your personal safety, for example, the risk of subsequent avalanches.
  2. Mark the suspected search area to be permanently oriented.
  3. Go structured and calm, but fast. For several people, the tasks are to be distributed: Mountain rescue informs, provide an overview of the situation – especially with several victims.
  4. Start the search with the avalanche transceiver (LVS) by following the strongest signal and narrowing the search radius. The safe control of the device is one of the duties for all winter sports enthusiasts who move beyond the slopes.
  5. If no WMS is available, start the search with probes. In any case, stay at the scene of the accident until rescue workers arrive.
  6. After locating the victim should be started immediately with the excavation. The most important task is the exposure of the head and a check if the respiratory system is free.
  7. Initiate the necessary First Aid measures and try to prevent further cooling of the security. Be careful when moving the victim. You can cause serious cardiovascular problems if you have hypothermia.

The most important thing, however, is not to get into an avalanche emergency situation. Find out about the avalanche danger before a ski tour. Use the avalanche situation report and avoid any dangerous situation.

We wish you a lot of fun and health!

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