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Caught in an Avalanche

Caught in an Avalanche

If you get caught in an avalanche, don't panic but try do do the following: -

  • Call out so that other members of your party can observe your position in case you get buried.

  • Discard ski sticks, skis and rucksack.

  • Fall on your back, head uphill. Attempt to stay on the surface by making a swimming motion with your arms. Attempt to work to one side of the moving snow. In a large or fast moving avalanche such efforts will probably not be of much avail, but they should save your life in a smaller one.

If you find these attempts are not helping, cover your face with your hands. This will help keep snow out of your nose and mouth, and you will have a chance to clear a breathing space if you are buried. Avalanche snow often becomes very hard as soon as it stops moving. You should be aware of the risk of your arms getting pinned wherever they are when the snow comes to rest.

In soft snow you may be able to dig yourself out, or at least make room to breathe. If you try to dig out, make sure you dig up towards the surface. Persons buried in an avalanche can sometimes lose their sense of direction and might mistakenly dig down.

If you hear rescuers working above you, do not waste your strength by shouting. Though sound is transmitted into the snow rather easily, it is transmitted out very poorly.


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Published on: 2005-06-02 (1936 reads)

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