Collecting information early in the rescue will provide situational awareness that will help you perform a better rescue. If you witness an avalanche accident, or if the accident involves your own party, you will probably already know the answers to many of these questions. But don't make assumptions—just because you only saw one member of your party become engulfed by an avalanche doesn't mean there aren't more.
Deep Avalanche Burial
If you arrive at an avalanche that didn't involve your party, you should quickly and efficiently gather this information from witnesses.
- Is the scene safe?
- How many people are buried?
- If the avalanche did not involve members of your party and you can't interview witnesses, you may be able to determine the number of victims using your avalanche transceiver or by observing physical clues (e.g., finding two different brands of skis).
- If multiple people are buried, you will have to perform a multiple burial search.
- Was the victim wearing an avalanche transceiver?
- How long has the victim been buried?
- Where was the victim last seen?
- Has anyone called for help?