Temporary measures

The principal organisational and temporary measures taken to guard against avalanches are warnings, closures, evacuations and the artificial triggering of avalanches. They are implemented at short notice when the current snow and avalanche situation becomes critical.

If communities, ski resorts or transport routes are exposed to an acute danger of avalanches, the local safety authorities can issue warnings and order closures and evacuations. Based on the current weather and avalanche situation, they assess the likely size and probability of an avalanche release, and take appropriate action in accordance with the findings. Safety policy documents outline the relevant workflows for assessing the current avalanche situation, implementing closures, and for documentation requirements, among other aspects. Alarm systems are capable of detecting an advancing avalanche directly by way of radar or geophones and, in case of an imminent danger, automatically closing a transport route. The authorities also produce intervention maps based on existing danger maps. These enable management teams to plan deployments in case of an incident. Temporary interventions are adopted in particular when insufficient funding is available for permanent protective measures, or when such measures are judged not to be cost-effective. In any case, temporary measures can often avoid major disruption of the natural environment. They can also be implemented swiftly, which may be a relevant factor in case of unforeseen events.