First aid treatment for a recovered avalanche victim.

Credit: Teton County Search and Rescue

After you excavate a victim from avalanche debris, anticipate giving patient care. A well-excavated platform will aid in this phase of the rescue. Most avalanche victims are suffering from some combination of traumatic injury, asphyxiation, and hypothermia. The basic principles of treating these life-threatening injuries include clearing and establishing an airway, controlling severe bleeding, attempting resuscitation if the patient has suffered cardiac arrest, warming the patient, and treating for shock. We recommend training for these situations through a wilderness first aid class.