Natural disasters may not be within our control, but we can always weather the strongest storm if we arm ourselves with knowledge and skills. Whether you are camping with a group or not, preparing yourself for the worst situations can help you survive even the most extreme weather conditions. In this edition, we have prepared a guide on surviving avalanches when you are out on your trails.
What You Need to Know about Landslides and Avalanches
Surviving landslides and avalanches is never as easy as it sounds. Moving at speeds that can reach up to 80 mph, avalanches can put your life in jeopardy in just a blink of an eye. Aside from soil and snow pouring downhill, sharp rocks and debris can also come crashing down the hill, plowing everything within their path.
Indeed, these natural calamities are lethal. In worst case scenarios, you can be buried down the ground alive. Basically, the best way to survive an avalanche or a landslide is not to go camping in an event of a potential threat. Before packing your bags, check weather reports and ask local rangers about the probability of a landslide or an avalanche. If the weather is bad, re-schedule your camping plans.
Surviving Avalanches and Landslides
With early preparation and awareness, surviving doesn’t have to be a million light years away. Remember, as a camper, getting out of your camping site alive should never be just an option. If you are caught in a landslide or an avalanche, below are some of the things you need to do:
- Choose Your Camping Site Wisely: Before going out on a camping trip, study your location and identify the most ideal camping spots. Never camp near the base of a hill or a steep incline. Also, don’t set-up your tent near the edges of the top of an incline.
- Stay Away from the Center of an Incline: An avalanche typically moves towards the center of an incline as it moves downwards. Hence, when you are hiking up, always stay away from the middle of the incline so you can increase your chance of surviving landslides and avalanches.
- Hold on to a Tree: Since avalanches can move at top speeds, running away wouldn’t be a wise decision. Instead, look for a big tree and grab its branches.
- Swim Uphill: In case you are caught in an avalanche, swim uphill so you won’t be buried deep down the soil, snow and debris. Paddle as hard as you can and try your best to keep your head above the ground.
- Stay Calm: In case keeping your head above the ground isn’t possible, keep calm and cup your hand on your mouth. This will give you enough space to breathe. Relax and do deep breathing exercises.
- Stick out Any Item: If you can’t move your head or your body, stick out a tree branch or a tiny piece of wood above the ground so the rescue team would be able to locate you immediately.
Surviving avalanches and landslides is not child’s play. However, if you have the will to survive, no calamity can ever keep you under the ground.