The first 20 minutes are critical when rescuing someone buried in an avalanche. Chances of survival are still around 85% – afterwards these chances decrease drastically. On the other hand, the search for and rescue of a single avalanche victim takes 20 minutes on average. With this in mind, it is clear how precious time is and how invaluable a good training with his avalanche rescue gear can be.
Avalanche rescue is a race against time! Companion rescue, therefore, provides the greatest chances of survival for a buried subject. Companion rescue means that buried subjects are located and excavated by members of their party immediately after the avalanche slide.
If an avalanche occurs
As a Victim:
- Escape to the side
- Discard skis, snowboards, and poles (anchor effect)
- Try to stay on top
- Close your mouth; place your hands in front of your face (clear airway when the avalanche stops)
As a Witness:
- Memorize the last seen point as well as the direction of the avalanche
- Fix the primary search strip
The emergency plan lists the basic actions to be taken for a successful rescue operation.
- Obtain an overview
- I am searching with a transceiver: SEARCH
I am not searching: enable Rescue-SEND
- At least one rescuer carries out an immediate search using his or her eyes, ears and a transceiver
- Transceiver search complete: switch all transceivers to SEND
- Mountains – First aid – Raising the alarm