The Icelandic Meteorological Office and meteorological observers monitor the probability of avalanches near inhabited areas.   SMS warning text messages are sent to mobile phones to affected areas by the Civil Protection, when needed. If there is a danger of an avalanche, you should leave the affected area in accordance with instructions given.

If that is not possible, you should take the following measures:

  • Spend as little time as possible outside and do not go near the avalanche area.
  • Stay in the part of the house, which is farthest from the hillside. Close windows and doors tightly.  Put shutters on windows facing the hillside. 
  • Do not stay in a basement unless it is completely underground and has a concrete roof. 
  • If you live in a remote area, you should establish contact by telephone, or radio, with someone outside the danger zone and communicate and stay in touch regularly.  

If the Chief of Police gives an evacuation order, you must comply.  Local Civil Protection led by the Red Cross, open emergency shelters and maintain a register of people staying there until they are allowed to go back to their homes. 

When travelling in mountainous areas where there is a danger of avalanches, for example on skis, ski boards or motor vehicles, care should be taken not to start an avalanche by cutting the mountain side. Keep in mind that beacons, shovels, probes and avalanche airbag backpacks are the most important pieces of gears  for travelers skiing or travelling on an unprepared, trackless area away from regular ski runs (off-piste).       

If you get caught in an avalanche you should:

  • Keep your head up, by swimming. 
  • Cover your face to prevent your mouth and nose from getting filled with snow if you are out of control.
  • Move as much as you can to create space to breath when the avalanche is slowing down.
  • Keep calm.  Do not try to call for help, until you hear the rescuers.