People caught by avalanches may die from suffocation, hypothermia or even trauma. On average, several dozen people die in Europe every winter in such conditions. An avalanche is a large amount of snow moving quickly down a mountain, usually on slopes with an approx. 30-45 degrees. When an avalanche stops, the snow becomes hard as concrete and people are unable to dig.
• Find out about local avalanche danger – check alerts
• Check if the place that your heading to has a local warning system that can be trustful
• Learn how to recognize signs of an impending avalanche and how to use a rescue equipment
• Take part in first aid training to recognize and treat suffocation, hypothermia, injuries and learn how to use rescue equipment
• Travel with a guide who knows which places should be avoided. Always travel at least in pairs
• Follow the avalanche warnings on the roads. They may be closed, immobilizing vehicles
• Avoid places where an avalanche danger has been reported
• Carry and make use of a safety and rescue equipment
• If your partner or others are buried, call 112 immediately and then, start the search if it’s safe enough to do so
• If you have been adequately trained in first aid in case of hypothermia, injury or shock, take care of victims
Hypothermia is an extremely low body temperature. A temperature below 28 degrees is an emergency and can lead to death.
Symptoms: chills, exhaustion, cold upper and lower limbs, weak arms and legs, disorientation, memory loss, fuzzy speech and sleepiness.
Actions: Go to a warm room or shelter. Firstly, warm up the middle of the body – chest, neck, head and groin. Keep the victim dry and wrapped in warm blankets, including the head and neck.