An avalanche is a snow mass that has slipped from a mountain slope and is moving under the force of gravity. It drags along more and more masses of snow on its way.
During an avalanche-hazardous period, it is necessary to know the following:
- Before traveling, obtain information about the weather, road conditions, the risk of an avalanche through mass media or an MES duty officer.
- When driving in a mountainous area and avalanche-hazardous road areas strictly follow the spacing interval of 500 meters between the cars set by the road services.
- Pay close attention to warning signs, placed in areas of possible avalanching and landfalls and, if necessary, drive through them early in the morning.
- Strictly follow the instructions of road services and warning signs: “Driving restrictions”, “Roads”, warnings of the Ministry of Emergency Situations of the KR and the Road patrol services of the MIA KR in the mass media.
Remember! An avalanche-hazardous period lasts from October to April, while the maximal risk of avalanching falls on the months of February-March.
Rules of conduct in avalanches:
- If an avalanche is falling from a high altitude, drive through quickly and warn incoming cars; if you are walking, walk quickly or run away to a safe place from the avalanche’s path or hide behind a rock ledge, in a small cave (you cannot hind behind young trees).
- If escaping the avalanche is not possible, free yourself of things, take a horizontal position, pull your knees up to your stomach and orient your body in the direction of an avalanche’s movement.
- Cover your nose and mouth with a glove, scarf or a collar, move in an avalanche using swimming motions, try to stay on the surface of the avalanche, moving to the edge, where speed is lower.
- When the avalanche stops, try to create some space around your face and chest, this will help to breathe.
- If it is possible, move upwards (you can determine where the top is by letting the drool spill out of your mouth).
- If you are caught in an avalanche, do not scream, the snow absorbs sounds and screams and pointless movements strip you of strength, oxygen and warmth.
- Do not lose self-control, do not let yourself fall asleep and remember that people are searching for you.
What to do after an avalanche?
- You lose consciousness from the heavy snow avalanche that collapsed on you. After you have gradually regained consciousness, you should try to free one of your hands and place your hand near your nose, so that you can have a small space for breathing.
- Try to move your second hand close to your face in order to be able to shove the snow away from respiratory organs.
- To determine where the top the bottom are, it is necessary to spit. If the drool falls in front of you, this means you are lying upside down (to the surface of the earth). If the drool stays on the lips, it means that you are lying with your head up. Similarly, you can check the condition by spitting to the sides.
- After you determine your position, it is necessary to try to stretch your hand up. If your hand does not come out through the surface, it is necessary to try to dig a passage for the air to come through it.
- If you find yourself in an avalanche in an upside down position, you should try to dig a space around you to be able to flip over.
- It is necessary to take small breaths, not to panic, not to make fast and sudden movements, since when you do it the heart starts to beat faster and the lungs require more air.
- If you managed to dig a through passage, but could not crawl out of it completely, it is necessary to scream to attract attention of rescuers during their search. You will definitely be found.
- If you find yourself outside of an avalanche hit zone, report by any means about location of the dwelling and start looking for and rescuing the injured.
FIRST AID IN CASE OF HYPOTHERMIA
In a heated room, warm up the chilblained body part by rubbing it with a dry soft cloth and then place it in warm water and gradually increase water temperature to 40-450. If the pain is receding and sensitivity is coming back, wipe your hand (foot) dry, put on socks (gloves) and if possible go to the district hospital.