How to Survive an Avalanche
Usually, avalanches happen after a heavy snowfall or due to direct sunlight. Try to stay away from potentially dangerous places like angled slopes on too sunny or snowy days. If you neglected the precautions and found yourself in the middle of the disaster, donít panic! Avalanche doesnít equal 100% death. There is a chance to save your life, and you can be lucky if you know what to do.
- Get rid of skis and backpacks. Try to take them off before they anchor you in the middle of the disaster.
- Staying close to the surface is your main goal now. Do your best to keep your head above the snow. Imitate the swimming movements to glide along the current.
- Try to move to the side. The speed of the stream is much lower on the sides than in the middle, so try to angle your body and move closer to the edge.
- Hold on to trees or any other objects on your way. Even if the avalanche ďwashesĒ you away, you would let the heaviest part of it go first.
- If you canít glide to the side of the avalanche, press your fists to your face to protect it from snow and create some breathing room. You can cover your nose and mouth with a scarf to prevent tiny particles of snow from getting into your nose. Many people start choking because of them even if the layer of snow isnít too thick.
- Snow starts pressing down and freezing immediately when the stream stops, so give yourself a quick rest and start making your way out right off the bat. Move inside your cave to win some extra space while the snow is still comparatively soft. If you were lucky, the layer of snow would be not too thick and you can make it alone. In case itís thicker than 1 ft, youíll need some help.
- Listen to whatís happening above the surface and scream when you hear the voices. Usually, youíll have 2 hours before you run out of oxygen inside of your cave, and thatís usually enough for people to start searching for you.
Donít struggle the stream
Trying to make your way out against the current is the worst thing you can do. Firstly, itís useless because the avalanche is stronger than you. Secondly, these attempts will result in your being buried deeper in the snow. And finally, doing so you become exhausted and run out of energy that youíll need later.
Itís crucial to conserve oxygen and energy inside of the cave and survive until someone finds you. Donít try to make your way out through the thick layer of snow, donít cry or scream. Sit still and wait for help.
Struggling with nature is always an unfair battle. However, you still can win if you donít panic and succeed in following the instructions. Obviously, staying calm and rational is very hard in such a stressful situation, but it can mean the difference between life and death.
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