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How to Assess a Victim in 60 Seconds

Whether you're in the backcountry or inbounds at the resort, you're bound to come up on someone who's taken a spill and needs your help. And while you may not feel equipped to help, you don't need an EMT certification to be an effective first responder.

CHECK OUT: TGR's entire lineup of Safety Week tips, how-to's, and candid interviews with pro athletes

Micah Rush, an International Pro Riders' Workshop as well as a guide for Exum Mountain Guides (and EMT certified, an Outdoor Emergency Care expert, and a High Angle Rescue instructor) shows us how to get a baseline of how your victim is doing in 60 seconds or less. Even if you're inbounds, establishing a very rough baseline of how a victim is doing can be very helpful when you grab your phone to call ski patrol for help.

IMPORTANT NOTE: One thing that Micah did rush over but needs to be emphasized is that before you scan the body for injuries, the first thing you want to do is check the ABC's of your patient: Airway, Breathing, and Circulation. 

First, check the patient's airway – is there snow or debris in their throat? If they are unresponsive, you can check with a finger, and clear any snow or debris out. Tilt their head back so their airway is as straight as possible and as conducive to breathing as possible. 

Second is to check your patient's breathing. Do they sound hoarse or are having difficulty breathing? Is there chest rising and falling normally, and equally on both sides? Normal breaths should be between 12-20 per minute. 

Third is to check your patient's circulation. Get a baseline pulse and check elsewhere in the body to make sure the pulses match. Check extremities for normal color and body temperature. 

More information on checking the ABC's can be found here. If your patient is not breathing, or having supreme difficulty doing so, you may want to administer CPR, and you can find a video guide to doing that here.

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