Friday, May 1, 2015

Cave Rescue Training - April 2015

 It had been a few years since we had a National Cave Rescue Commission training in our area. With a little nudging from my friend Andy, I picked a date, found some instructors willing to volunteer their time, and got ready for a fun weekend.

On Friday we had fifteen students come to improve their single rope technique (SRT) skills in the morning. We had seven single ropes up in the fire station, plus a rebelay course that included some J-hangs and a guided rappel. It was a challenging rebelay course, but fun! Here's Deanna doing the guided rappel, which would keep you out of a waterfall or get you over a pothole or some other obstacle.

In the afternoon we went out to some nearby cliffs and did raises and lowers. It was a windy afternoon, but everyone did well and learned something.

While we were prepping the site, I got this fun shot.

In the evening you could tell we were getting a little tired…but we were still laughing! (Can you see what's happened in the photo below?)

The next morning we changed gears and started the Orientation to Cave Rescue class, a two-day class. We spent the morning and early afternoon in the classroom. Here's Bonny doing the best psych considerations talk I've ever seen. It was also perfect for keeping the students awake after lunch as they had to get up.

Later in the afternoon it was time for the obstacle course, which teaches how to move a litter and tests leadership/followership skills. One particularly fun challenge was going through a narrow fork in the tree.

They did it well! Then everyone had to climb through the tree, which took some teamwork.

Sunday it was time for the mock rescue to test their skills. Thanks to Bonny and Tori for getting some of these photos, as I ended up being one of the patients. They had to come find me and carry me out of the cave.

When the students arrived, they got organized. The incident commander sent everyone to the cave.

Then they were divided into teams with different missions.

One of the search teams found me and then had to keep me warm and treat my injuries while they waited for a litter to arrive.

It took me about ten minutes to go to my place in the cave uninjured, but over three hours to get me out, largely due to patient packaging and then various vertical obstacles. It just goes to show that you want to cave carefully or you could end up spending a lot longer in a cave than you had planned!

On the hike back I discussed the mock rescue with Andy. We were both very happy with how everyone had done. Thanks so much to all the instructors, students, Great Basin National Park, Ely District BLM, and Snake Valley Volunteer Fire Department for their support!

The National Cave Rescue Commission has upcoming training--a Small Party Assisted Rescue seminar in June in Lund, Nevada (with only four spots left), and a weeklong seminar with various levels in Park City, Kentucky (next to Mammoth Cave) at the end of July. You can find more info at the NCRC website.

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