VIDEO: Post-Avalanche Patient Care

Mike Bartholow | | AvalancheAvalanche

Brought to you by SCARPA Backcountry Week

This is the fifth installment of my highlighting Backcountry Access’ Avalanche Safety videos for SCARPA Backcountry Week.  Up to now in these videos, we’ve discussed organizing a companion avalanche rescue in the backcountry, as well as single and multiple-burial rescue with transceivers, probing, and strategic shoveling. In the next video in the series, BCA Ambassador Sarah Carpenter of the American Avalanche Institute goes through patient care of an avalanche victim, which will lead us to the final video of the series that discusses backcountry evacuation.

Treating an avalanche victim | Credit: Wilderness Medical Society Facebook

With a record number of recreational avalanche deaths in the United States recently, it’s a good time to focus on companion avalanche search and rescue.  Traditionally, recreational avalanche courses have focused solely on the avalanche portion of the rescue, and not patient care in and extrication from the backcountry. These are critical parts of the puzzle that are now being implemented in the curriculum of some avalanche education providers. Wilderness First Responder courses, such as those taught by Wilderness Medical Associates and NOLS Wilderness Medicine are great resources for backcountry travelers.

Winter Wilderness Medicine course | Credit: NOLS Wilderness Medicine

These field-based classes, are designed to prepare you to recognize, treat, and prevent injuries and illnesses that are common in the outdoors, and are an excellent addition to any recreational avalanche training you have. With more people traveling in the backcountry in hazardous avalanche conditions this winter, the chances that you’ll be part of a companion rescue that involves an injured person are increased. Another great resource is the upcoming Wilderness Medical Society Winter Conference on February 21-25, 2021. For information or to sign up, visit WMS 2021 Winter Conference.

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