US and Europe have been witnessing more than 150 avalanche fatalities. It has been noticed that most deaths occurred are among recreational groups that includes skiers, snowboarders etc. New practice guidelines issued by the Wilderness Medical Society, will help medical professionals and public.
The backcountry snow activity is on an increase. This makes it important to understand and know the best techniques for avalanche rescue, risk management and rescue protocols. The guidelines have been based on the three main factors of avalanche and snow burial accidents:
Avalanche accidents have presented unique challenges for the rescue workers. One of the main causes of avalanche fatalities is Asphyxia. It occurs due to inhaled snow, debris or freezing water vapour. Other causes are life threatening injuries and trauma. US and European data indicates to us that the primary cause of death for 25% of avalanche fatalities is trauma.
The guidelines suggest multiple post avalanche survival steps to be taken and have clearly established the proper rescue sequence. It has presented an excellent opportunity to understand best practices if a situation arises.