If you are the survivor of an avalanche accident,
remember the following points: -
Do not panic: The
lives of your buried comrades may depend on what you do in the next hour. Check
for further slide danger - pick a safe escape route in case of a repeat
Mark last seen position:
Mark the position on the avalanche path where the victim was last seen as he was
carried down by the snow. This will narrow the area of your search and that of
the rescue party. Use a firmly planted ski, pole, or large branch which will not
be lost under a subsequent snowfall.
Quick search: If
there are only two or three survivors, they must make a quick but careful search
of the avalanche before going for help. If possible, one man should be left at
the accident scene to continue the search and guide the rescue party.
Search surface below last seen position:
Search the surface of the avalanche for evidence of the
victim or clues to his location. Mark the location of any pieces of his
equipment you may find - these provide additional indications of the path taken
by the flowing snow. Search carefully and kick up the snow to uncover anything
which may lie just beneath the surface.
Sole survivor: If
you are the sole survivor, you must still make a through search of the avalanche
area before going for help. This may seem obvious, but it is a rule all too
often neglected. Even the simplest search may enable you to find the victim and
free him alive.
If a rescue party can be summoned only after several hours, the survivors must
concentrate on making as thorough a search as possible with their own resources.
The chances of a buried victim being recovered alive diminish rapidly after two
the initial search fails, probe with avalanche rod below the last seen point.
Trees, ledges, branches or other terrain features which have caught the snow are
most likely places to search. If there are several survivors probing of likely
spots can continue until a rescue party arrives. If you are alone, you will have
to decide when to break off the search and seek help, depending on how far away
Send for help: If
there are several survivors, send only two. The remaining survivors must search
for the victim or victims in the meantime. If it is likely to take two hours or
more for help to reach the scene, and the avalanche is not too large, the victim
may have a better chance if everyone continuous to search. This is a difficult
decision which depends on individual circumstances.
Going for help: When
going for help, travel carefully, avoid accidents and injuries. The victims'
chance of survival depends on your getting through. Mark your route, especially
if fresh snow is falling, so that you can find your way back. Try to avoid
complete exhaustion. The rescue party will normally expect you to guide them
back to the accident scene unless its location is absolutely clear.
First Aid: If
the victim is found, treat him immediately for suffocation and shock. Free nose
and mouth of snow and administer mouth to mouth artificial respiration if
necessary. Clear the snow from the inside clothing and place the victim in
sleeping bag with head downhill. Very gentle application of external heat will
help counteract severe chilling. Any further injuries should then be treated
according to standard first aid practices.