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 the rescuer’s 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, disconnect yourself from ski boards 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). Try to keep the surface of the avalanche with swimming movements.
  5. Use your hand to create a hole in front of your mouth and nose immediately. Be quick, because as soon as the dense snow stops, you will have no room to move. In addition, you should try to take a squat position. Put your arms in front of the chest. Use your hands as a breathing hole in front of the mouth and nose.

Those who have been completely buried rarely have a chance to free themselves. Especially when the snow is too dense and space is too narrow to move. It does not matter if you are 20 centimeters or 2 meters below the surface. Of crucial importance, however, is the depth to which the rescuers must dig.

Rescue operations must start immediately. Remember, every second count. Anyone watching the avalanche from a distance should try to keep an eye on those affected. Put in mind 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 rescuers:

  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 area you suspect to be the focal point of the search.
  3. Be structured and calm, but fast. Distribute tasks for several people. Forms rescue team. Share mountain rescue information and provide an overview of the situation – especially if there are many 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 rescuers team 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. Immediately do the excavation after locating the victim. 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 going on 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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