Geology And Geophysics

Surviving an Avalanche



Tweet
Schmity Marshall's image for:
"Surviving an Avalanche"
Caption: 
Location: 
Image by: 
©  

Surviving an avalanche-one of the most destructive forces this planet Earth could bring to us. Below are five tips on how you may just be able to survive an avalanche if you ever have the mishap of being stuck in one.

Hold on to something. If you're unable to escape the avalanche, try to grab on to a boulder or sturdy tree. If it's a small avalanche, or if you're near the edge of the avalanche, you may be able to hold on until the flow of snow passes you. Even if you get ripped away from the object you're holding, if you can succeed in delaying your departure downhill, you have a better chance of not being buried or, at least, of not being buried as deeply. Keep in mind, however, that a very powerful avalanche can carry away even large rocks and trees.

Swim to stay near the surface of the snow. The human body is much denser than snow, so you'll tend to sink as you get carried downhill. Try to stay afloat by using a swimming motion. It's no use to try to swim against the snow, so swim with it, as you would swim with the tide if you were bodysurfing. No particular stroke is recommended; just do whatever works to keep your head above the surface. As the avalanche slows down, quickly try to get yourself to the surface before the snow settles.

Create an air pocket near your nose and mouth. When the avalanche slows down-but before it stops-cup one or both of your hands in front of your mouth to create an air pocket. With a small air pocket to breathe from, you should have enough air to last at least 30 minutes.

Take a deep breath before the snow settles. Right before the snow settles, inhale deeply and hold your breath for a few seconds. This causes your chest to expand, which will give you some breathing room when the snow hardens around you. If you don't have this breathing room, you may not even be able to expand your chest to breathe while you're buried.

Conserve air and energy. Try to move once the snow settles, but don't jeopardize your air pocket. If you're very near the surface, you may be able to dig your way out, but otherwise you aren't going anywhere. Don't waste precious breath by struggling against the snow. Remain calm and wait. If you hear people nearby, try to call them, but don't keep it up if they don't seem to hear you. You can probably hear them better than they can hear you, and shouting just wastes your limited air supply

Those are five survival tips that may just be enough to help you survive an avalanche attack, hopefully you will never need to use these techniques though.

Tweet
More about this author: Schmity Marshall

From Around the Web




ARTICLE SOURCES AND CITATIONS