Avalanche recovery performed by you and your partners.

Credit: American Institute for Avalanche Research and Education

Companion rescue, or self rescue, refers to recovery efforts conducted by you and your partners, without outside help. Most avalanche burial victims have less than 15 minutes before succumbing to asphyxiation – thus companion rescue is often the only way to save your partner if they get buried. Companion rescue is a stressful and exhausting endeavor. Practice realistic scenarios with your partners so that you are prepared for the challenge. A basic rescue involves observing the avalanche, hopefully observing a last seen point, conducting a transceiver search below the last seen point to locate the victim, probing to pinpoint the victim’s exact location and burial depth, digging up the victim, and then caring for the patient. Before jumping into rescue, consider the potential for additional avalanche threats. Depending on your group size and rescue circumstances, consider initiating an emergency response by calling 911 or sending an SOS signal.  The “Read More” sections describe basic principles and guidance for companion rescue to supplement what you’ve learned from rescue courses and practice.