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What to do in case of a hiking or mountain accident

The practice of mountain sports has seen a considerable increase in the number of people who embark on one of these comforting activities. But unfortunately, at the same time that hiking and mountain lovers were increasing, accidents when performing this kind of activities were growing exponentially.

Zero risk does not exist, we have seen the need to follow safety, preparation and foresight guidelines, and we also know the importance of knowing how to identify the risks we encounter on the route in order to anticipate them, but even so, no one is exempt from having an accident.

And if we have an accident while hiking or mountain, what should and can we do?

Above all, it is vital to remain calm and to have patience because for those who wait to be helped time runs very slowly while for those who come to their aid it will run very fast.

Of course there are some guidelines to follow that are marked by the acronym PWS.

  • Protect, that's the first thing we have to do. Protect the injured and ourselves from the dangers that have caused the accident and from those that may be lurking. That is to say, if it turns out that a stone has fallen on us, there is little point in staying in the same place where it seems that stones are falling, and if it is not possible to move, we will have to protect ourselves. Also in this phase we must accommodate and evaluate the injured and their injuries to act on the most urgent, a bleeding for example, before moving to the next phase.
  • Warning, informing the emergency services of our accident is the second thing we must do. And here come many questions that have a simpler and more assimilable answer if instead of going alone or being the group formed by two people, we are three or more, if at the site of the accident we have coverage and many others and if, surely you had never thought. But yes, even if you have to leave the injured person alone, you should go and report the accident to the emergency services.
  • Succour, now comes the part that surely, by instinct, all of us would do first, and that is to help the injured person by applying all our knowledge in first aid and all the material that we should carry in our kit. It is vital to remain calm and apply common sense, if we leave the injured on the snow or exposed to the sun a hypothermia or heat stroke can end up being more serious than the injuries that the accident would have caused and if we do not have the necessary knowledge is very likely that our actions can generate a more serious injury than it already has.

Safety positionSafety positionSafety position

Safety positionSafety position

But we really do know what information we should provide to the rescue team

  1. What happened?
  2. When did this happen?
  3. Where did it happen?
  4. State of the victim
  5. Location, as accurate as possible
  6. Weather in the area
  7. Components of the group that can help the rescue team
  8. Material available
  9. Contact media, phone numbers, radio stations, etc...

Teléfonos de emergencias

Teléfonos de emergencias

Once we've given the warning, it doesn't hurt to get ready and prepare for the arrival of the rescue team, especially if the helicopter comes into play.

  • It cleans the area of objects that can fly away with the wind it generates.
  • Organize, hold and have at hand all the material you have available.
  • If, as is advisable, you wear a reflective vest or similar, use it to be seen by the helicopter personnel.
  • Nail a stick or cane to the ground and tie a handkerchief to help the pilot identify the direction and speed of the wind in your area.
  • It is not superfluous to know the international signals that confirm to the helicopter whether or not we need its help.

Helicopter rescue signageHelicopter rescue signage

No one, when we leave home to go hiking or climb a mountain, wants to have an accident, of whatever kind, but we must know that if we do, we must and must be able to survive with our own means until the rescue team arrives.


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