Avalanche Rescue Missions

After a person has been rescued from an avalanche, it will be necessary to check for edema as this may happen a few hours after. This causes an abnormal collection of fluid in the body cavity spreading cellular toxins to the blood, which can block renal filtration and cause a neuropathy of serious consequences if the person is not put under medical observation. Also starting from the first hour the rescued victim will most likely have progressive hypothermia. In this case CPR will need to be done on the victim in and the person will need to be kept as warm as possible. One effective way of helping a victim is by using thermal blankets etc.

Keep in mind that when one is caught in an avalanche, the closer and further up to the lateral a person is, they stand less chances of being buried so deeply. A person that is caught inside an avalanche should use their hands and make swimming movements in order to stay further up on the surface and to get near the edge of the avalanche. Before the mass of snow stops, a person that has become buried should try to place their arms over their chest and their fists in front of their face, this will then create a small space for the person to be able to breath. While in the middle of all this make sure to keep your mouth closed and try to open the hole as much as possible before the snow settles, especially on the area around your head.

Once the avalanche has stopped, the snow will solidify very quickly and it will no longer be possible to make more room. If a victim becomes buried in snow due to an avalanche he or she can tell what position they are in by spitting; if the person is face up, the saliva will stay on their lips. Recent studies have shown that about ninety percent of avalanche victims survive if they are rescued within the first fifteen minutes, and thirty five percent, if they are rescued within the first thirty-five minutes, whereas only a small three percent survive if over two hours has gone by.

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