How Burial Time of Avalanche Victims is Influenced by Rescue Method: An Analysis of Search Reports from the Alps
Author: Slotta-bachmayr, Leopold
Source: Natural Hazards, Volume 34, Number 3, March 2005 , pp. 341-352(12)
Abstract:Two hundred and seventeen avalanche reports from Switzerland and the Tyrol were used to investigate the influence of rescue method on the survival and burial time of avalanche victims. The probability of survival for victims rescued by their companion was higher (75, n=113) than for people found by an organised search team (30, n=104). Burial time and burial depth are the main factors, which decide whether a person is recovered dead or alive. People who were still alive were recovered significantly earlier and from a shallower burial depth than people who died in an avalanche. There is also a significant difference in the burial time dependent on whether companions or rescue teams carry out the search. In localising the site by means of sight/call or avalanche beacon by companions there is a clear relation between burial time and burial depth. For rescue teams, the relation between burial time and area of the avalanche is important. When working with avalanche dogs or probe lines there should be a clear correlation between burial time and area of the avalanche For dog teams arriving at the scene, there is a relation between search/excavation time and burial depth. Search time for tour skiers based on the information given will always be limited due to the burial depth of the victim. This means that the digging tools used are very important. The greatest problems facing rescue teams are limited transport capacity and the organisation of the whole mission over a large area. Therefore, speed and efficiency are of the utmost importance, when organising any search.
Document Type: Research Article
Affiliations: K9 unit, Austrian Red Cross, LV Salzburg, Minnesheimstr. 8b, 5020, Salzburg, Austria, Email: email@example.com
Publication date: 2005-03-01