The Mont-Blanc

Accidents

What to do in case of an accident

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Italy                 118        (or the emergency number 112)
France           112
Switzerland   144

Civil Protection (I) 800.319.319

PGHM Chamonix (F) +33(0)4.50.53.16.89

What counts as an emergency?

A situation is defined as an emergency whenever human life (yours or someone else's) is endangered and there is nothing you can do to resolve the matter.

When to call for help

Calling for help is justified in the following situations:

  • you are in the presence of accident victims (who have broken bones, serious injuries or open wounds...)
  • you are trapped somewhere after a fall or a change in the terrain (a cliff, very steep gradient, ice...)
  • you are lost or in trouble and are unable to continue because of the time of day or other conditions
  • you are trapped by objective dangers (severe weather changes, rockfall, avalanches...)
  • you are trapped because of technical climbing challenges that exceed your capabilities

First of all: do not panic - stay calm and survey the situation. Do not take useless risks if the people in trouble are difficult to reach.

What to do first

  • protect the victim from cold and other environmental threats
  • survey the victim's condition and the general situation
  • administer first aid, if you can

Calling for help

Be clear and concise and provide the following information:

  • location (altitude, geographic features, distinctive clothing that could facilitate localization)
  • number of victims and types of injuries
  • your name and cell phone number, if relevant

If you are there when the rescue team arrives:

  • signal your position clearly by holding your arms open in a Y-shaped posture
  • secure any objects that the helicopter might blow away when it arrives
  • when the helicopter arrives, stay still until it comes to a complete stop and the rescue team disembarks

Do not give up if the rescue team runs late, hold tight and take cover.

Some helpful facts:

  • The conventional signal for helicopters is: standing motionless with your arms forming a Y
  • The visual-acoustic signal is: 1 signal every 10 seconds for 1 minute
  • Check for any objects in the area that could be blown away by the helicopter's rotor blades.
  • As the helicopter approaches, crouch down and stay still until the rescue team disembarks.