Skiing is considered to be one of the adventure sports, which is highly popular around the world. Being an adventure activity certain safety measures have to be taken during skiing .
The skiers use different kinds of equipments as safety measures during the activity. For assuring the safety of the skiers, various organizations also have been established. These organizations are known as ski patrol . Ski patrols offer rescue and first aid to the injured skiers. To be safe, people should be fully fit before staring skiing . Poor fitness and conditioning often result in serious accidents on the mountain. Skiing equipments should also be well maintained as they are essential for the activity.
Skiers may fall victims to avalanches anytime during their skiing expedition. Skiers moving in groups are safer in avalanche prone areas as others can rescue if one skier is in distress. Any type of defensive action is practically useless in most avalanche situations. The first action on being caught in an avalanche would be to shriek and shout for help. If possible one should run towards the side to avoid direct impact of avalanche and get rid of skiing gears, sacks and skis to make one lighter. If one gets buried under a mass of snow, repeated trials should be made to make and maintain air space. Having patience and avoiding panic are the two most important things that should be followed on getting trapped in an avalanche.
Crevasses are notoriously renowned for gulping down skilled skiers and highly skilled travelers. Training is provided to skiers and travelers in rope rescue techniques prior venturing out on skiing and trekking expeditions. Depths of the crevasses can reach up to 30meters or more and the width also varies depending on the mass of the glacier and snow. Rescue from crevasses can be done by trained crevasse rescuers. The initial action to be taken if an individual slips into a crevasse is to stabilize the total situation and make everyone panic free. The next step involves pulling out the person from the crevasse with the help of a rope. Many a times single pulley technique is also applied to pull back the victim to the ground. Prusik knots with slings can be used by the victim to ascend the rope if he/she can move in the crevasse. Though rescuing from crevasse seems to be an easy job, but practically is very painstaking and dangerous.
Most commonly used rescue method is with the help of a helicopter as casualties can quickly be detected. Another mode of rescuing people in distress in mountainous regions is with the help of search dogs. Mountain rescue services are provided by professionals from any particular organization and also by amateurs who are mountain lovers and have excelled the skill of mountain rescue programs. There are paid professionals as well as volunteers in this job. Places where demands for rescue teams are more are often frequented by paid professionals like in the Alpine region or on rough mountain terrains or in close proximity to the ski resorts. On several occasions, a paid mountain rescue team may work in collaboration with a volunteer mountain rescue team. There are many organizations that operate such mountain rescue teams. These rescue teams swing into action on reaching the spot at once and carry first aid kits to provide the necessary medication wherever required. In the profession of mountain rescue, British rescue teams have made a name for themselves and are considered to be best in business.
Ski patrol is an organization that is directly related to first aid and rescue programs for skiers and participants of various kinds of snow sports in rough mountainous terrains. These rescue programs are mainly required in backcountry settings and in rough areas which are not easily accessible. The patrollers are trained with basic first aid techniques so that primary care can be taken of patients before transferring them for advanced treatment.
There are various ski patrol organizations all over the world ensuring safety and security of skiers. The National Ski Patrol is one of the pioneering organizations which strive to provide quality training and education programs to emergency rescuers. Training in the organization is provided in leadership activities, outdoor emergency care and safety and transportation services. Professional Ski Patrol Association is a dedicated organization in promoting the best standards in ski patrolling. Professional Ski Patrol Association has its own method of educating patrollers through various tests and training schedules. Training is provided in ski safety, first aid skills, toboggan handling and ski techniques. Apart from these two globally renowned ski patrol associations , there are many other ski patrol organizations . Some of the other ski patrol organizations are Australian Ski Patrol Association , Canadian Ski Patrol System, Devil's Head Ski Patrol, Blue Mountain Ski Patrol , Mt. Baldy Ski Patrol, Bryan Mountain Nordic Ski Patrol etc.
Wilderness First Aid
Wilderness first aid course should be properly followed and understood before venturing out on a skiing trip. Usually skiers have a well assorted first aid kit but hardly anyone knows to use it properly. Practical applications during the first aid training program should be provided to the people so that during emergency they can use the first aid techniques efficiently without losing time. For a short skiing trip, a basic first aid kit will suffice that should comprise of few band aids, antiseptic lotion, bandages, scissors etc. For a longer skiing trip or for a large group, the first aid kit should also be large and contain several important things like aspirin tablets, antihistamine tablets, anti-diarrhoea tablets, band-aids of different sizes, sterile gauze pads with water resistant adhesive tapes, creams for injuries and burns, elastic bandage, antiseptic cleansing lotion, scissors and tweezers. Various wilderness medical first aid books are also available which provide tips on wilderness first aid.