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Hopefully you will never have to experience frostbite but if it should set in, you should know how to spot it. Frostbite is caused by exposing unprotected flesh to freezing temperatures for a prolonged period of time. Those body parts that pose the most risk are your fingers, toes, nose, and ears. The damage occurs when the flow of blood to these parts is reduced. The symptoms of frostbite are loss of feeling in a dead white appearance. To treat frostbite you need to restore the body temperature as quickly as possible by providing heat externally. This may include such things as a hot water bottle, a campfire, or immersion in water baths with a temperature less than 110 degrees. The affected body areas must be covered immediately. Make sure not to rub, vibrate, or apply pressure to the affected areas. Snow or cold water should not be applied to the frostbitten areas.
Hypothermia posses the greatest danger to snowmobiles.This happens when the body looses heat faster than it can produce it, draining energy from the body. The main prevention of hypothermia is wearing of layered clothing. Those factors that contribute to Hypothermia are cold weather, wetness, wind and the wind chill factor, exhaustion. The symptoms include uncontrolled shivering , fumbling hands or stumbling walk, vague or slurred speech, memory lapse, and drowsiness and apparent exhaustion. The treatment of hypothermia begins with removing the victim from the harmful environment that caused this condition. This may be achieved by setting up a shelter or moving to a timbered area. From here, proceed to remove the individual’s wet clothing and place them in dry clothing or a sleeping bag. Added warmth may be achieved by getting in the bag with the person. If warm liquids are available, give it to the person but never give them alcohol. If the victim is conscious, give them sugary foods that can provide them with a quick energy fix. Try to keep the person dry and warm and seek medical help as soon as possible.
If you are caught in an avalanche you should immediately call out to others in hopes that they can see your course. It is very important to stay calm. Make an attempt to move away from your equipment and machine. Try to swim with the avalanche in an attempt to reach the side of it. Never swim against the avalanche. As you are coming to a stop, thrash your limbs about in hopes of loosening up the snow around you. Before coming to a stop, place your hands over your face to create an air pocket for breathing. If you are completely covered by snow the only way to gauge which way is up is to spit saliva and gravity will lead the way. Be sure to dig up. If you survive an avalanche, don’t desert the other victims. Stab your pole into the snow directly downhill from the point they were last seen.