Avalanche: Survival Guide

Avalanche: Survival Guide

If you are on a ski resort or mountainous or hilly area, you can face a potential hazard if it snows or rains. In the case of rain-induced mudslides, consult the recommendations under floods, but also keep in mind tips with a snow induced avalanche.

Most of the time there will be a warning posted in areas that are in danger of such conditions. Do not enter those areas if at all possible. Sometimes you might be caught totally off guard when warnings are not posted or conditions are not detected in time, so if you are on any hilly area that is prone to a slide, be prepared.

If going into such areas, bring emergency essentials such as extra blankets, flashlights, portable first aid kit, flares, matches, walkie talkie, food and water that can be carried in a backpack. If there are no warnings posted, but you are in an area that can have an avalanche, make sure you are dressed warm and it would not be a bad idea to have such a backpack anyway.

Always be sure to tell someone if you are going into a mountainous area and let them know your approximate location. Should the worst happen and you are missing, someone will be able to let help know where you can be found.

If you see the avalanche coming your way, try to find the nearest, heaviest and stable source to block the impact between you and the snow rush. Try and remember that it isn’t just snow, but rock and trees and other heavy objects coming down, so hiding behind a tree probably won’t help much. If you can, quickly dig a hole and cover yourself while laying face down. Hold your head on your arms so you can have a pocket of air and wait for things to get quiet.

If you are pushed and disoriented by the rush, stay calm and spit. Find out which way the spit went so you will know which way is down. Slowly dig yourself out in the opposite way. It is no time to panic. Save your strength and energy since you might have a long dig ahead and you might have injuries. If you are severely injured, dig enough so you will be able to breathe, but keep yourself partly in the snow with a makeshift igloo. It will shelter you from the cold until help arrives.

If you have a walkie talkie, you can call for help. If you told someone where you are, chances are good that you will be found. If you go alone without a way to communicate, you will have to act smart. Avoiding frostbite might be difficult if you are going to be outside for a long period of time, but you can try to make it so it doesn’t have to be as bad. Follow tips for a snow emergency.

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