AVALANCHE - Precautions

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Publishing Organisation:
U.S. Department of Homeland Security
  • English
  • Avalanche
Disaster Management Phase

After, Before, During


The most important actions you can take to survive an avalanche are done before it happens.

Avalanche risks

  • Learn about your local avalanche risk.
  • Know the signs of increased danger, including recent avalanches and shooting cracks across slopes. * Avoid areas of increased risk, such as slopes steeper than 30 degrees or areas under steep slopes. * Get training on how to recognize hazardous conditions and avalanche-prone locations.
  • Sign up for alerts.
    • Your community may also have a local warning system.

Preparing for Avalanche

  • Get proper equipment to protect yourself from head injuries and create air pockets.
  • Receive first aid training so you can recognize and treat suffocation, hypothermia, traumatic injury and shock.
  • Wear a helmet to help reduce head injuries and create air pockets.
  • Wear an avalanche beacon to help rescuers locate you.
  • Use an avalanche airbag that may help you from being completely buried.
  • Carry a collapsible avalanche probe and a small shovel to help rescue others.

Signs of Avalanche

  • Learn the signs of an avalanche, and how to use safety and rescue equipment.
  • Follow avalanche warnings on roads.
    • Roads may be closed, or vehicles may be advised not to stop on the roadside.


  • Use and carry safety equipment and rescue gear.
  • If your partner or others are buried, use emergency call number (112) and then begin to search if it is safe to do so.
  • If you have the proper training, treat others for suffocation, hypothermia, traumatic injury or shock.


  • Know the signs and ways to treat hypothermia.
    • Hypothermia is an unusually low body temperature.
    • A body temperature below 35 degrees Celsius is an emergency.
    • Signs:
      • Shivering, exhaustion, confusion, fumbling hands, memory loss, slurred speech and drowsiness.
    • Actions:
      • Go to a warm room or shelter.
      • Warm the center of the body first—chest, neck, head and groin. Keep the person dry and wrapped up in warm blankets, including the head and neck.
  • Engage virtually with your community through video and phone calls.
  • Know that it’s normal to feel anxious or stressed.
  • Take care of your body and talk to someone if you are feeling upset.


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