If your group is involved in an avalanche, there is no time to call for help. Fatality statistics in Canada indicate you have just 10 minutes when the odds of recovering a buried victim alive is at 80%. After that 10-minute window, the chances of survival drop steeply.
With a critical response time of only 10 minutes, the best chance of survival comes from companion rescue—rescue performed by the victim's own group. In most cases, by the time outside help is on scene, it is too late. That is why all backcountry travellers need to be trained and practiced in companion rescue.
When an avalanche happens, a few key steps need to happen quickly, before the search starts. Someone should take charge to organize the rescue, a headcount needs to be taken to determine how many people are missing, and any hazard that may be affecting the site needs to identified.
The video and interactive image on this page provide a good outline of these crucial first steps in companion rescue.
Tap or hover over the icons to find out more.