Measures against avalanches

Personal measures
  • When engaging in winter sports, only go off-piste if you have the necessary knowledge and skills!
  • Avoid areas below steep slopes before and after snowfall. Consult the information provided by SLF's avalanche bulletins and ensure that you are familar with the hazard categories.
  • In the event of an avalanche threat, be sure to keep informed about the current situation and measures indicated by the authorities by accessing information on the internet and rom the avalanche service.
  • If there is an increased risk of an avalanche, close window shutters on windows facing mountains and do not leave the building.
Technical measures
  • Technical measures are taken to protect inhabited areas and transport routes from avalanches. Avalanche starting zones are protected by supporting structures that prevent triggering of avalanches. Further, diversion or retention dams are built to reduce the endangered area within the avalanche track. Affected objects may also be protected by avalanche shelters and the reinforcement of house walls at the avalanche side.
Forestry measures
  • Mountain forests provide efficient and inexpensive protection from avalanches. Furthermore, regeneration and/or reforestation in areas where forests may thrive can be promoted using temporary protective structures such as those constructed in timber.
Regional planning measures
  • The object of regional planning measures is to ensure long-term utilisation of endangered areas. In these areas, hazard zone maps are used to designate areas in which building is prohibited, or in which buildings may only be erected subject to restrictions. Under the Federal Law on Forests (WaG, SR 921.0) and the corresponding Ordinance (Ordinance relating to Forests, WaV, SR 921.01), it is obligatory to keep a disaster register and to prepare avalanche and/or general hazard maps.
Organisational measures
  • These are the responsibility of the municipalities and the cantons, and include the precautionary closure of roads and the evacuation of dwellings. Measures are taken based on the avalanche warnings issued by the SLF. Short-term measures of this kind are becoming increasingly important in connection with tourism and the expanding mobility of those living in the Alps. 


In the context of integrated risk management, the above measures should be seen as comparable in importance, and are to be applied in accordance with considerations of cost effectiveness and/or combined to optimum effect.