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PostPosted: Jun 1, 2007 8:43 pm
by james huffaker
Good evening Ladies and Gents. I hope I find you all well.
A newbie question but, how are your cave rescue teams organized? Are they like VFD's or ambulance corps. in that they have monthly meetings and drills, or they more like YOSAR in the early days when rescues were done by the most experience climbers who lived, ate, and slept the granite in Yosemite valley? When a rescue came up, a call went out amongst the residence, and they did the rescue. They even had rescue equipment caches. What say ye? Regards, Jim

PostPosted: Jun 2, 2007 2:04 pm
by Stridergdm
Speaking as co-captain of the Albany-Schoharie Cave Rescue team, we're close to the YOSAR model as you describe it.

We don't have formal meetings or trainings. We have a call-out list and a general idea of who we'd call for what sort of rescues, etc.

Sometimes the local sheriff's department (who has legal authority in the event of most rescues around here) will do a quick 4 hour sort of drill early in the year.

We typically manage maybe 1 call-out a year.

So, fairly informal.

Locally (within 1 hour or so of most caves) we have I believe 2 cavers who have gone through Level 3 (and probably 2-3 other cavers who have similar experience from other areas), 4-5 who have gone through Level 2, and depending on the school year, etc. up to a 1/2 dozen who have done Level 1.

We probably have a couple dozen who have done an OCR within the last 5 years.

If we expand the numbers to 2-3 hours, most of those numbers would double or more.

We do have access to a local equipment cache as well as a plethora of personal and other gear. (Yes, I'm a knurd, I keep a sked and OSS in my car normally :-)

With the RPI Outing Club and local cavers, we have plenty of vertical equipment.

Rescue squads and fire departments have pitched in in the past.

(and remember, if you do get called out or need help, contact your local NCRC Regional Coordinator. While the NCRC is NOT a rescue organization, regional coordinators are generally familiar with local resources and can help you gain access to them.)

PostPosted: Jun 3, 2007 7:02 am
by james huffaker
Stridergdm, Good morning, and thanks for the response. What is an OCR?
I live about three hours south of you (Westchester Co.). I'm not even sure if we have caves near here. The last "cave" I was in was in Rosendale, NY MANY years ago, it's actually an old limestone quarry.The BSA Explorer post I was in went on a caving trip there, my first rappel, 180' on hemp rope of unknown history, cross barred caribiners and rope swiss seats. I guess ignorance is bliss because we all survived and we had a great time in the man made cave. Regards, Jim

PostPosted: Jun 3, 2007 10:32 am
by Stridergdm
An OCR is an "Orientation to Cave Rescue". It's the weeklong Level 1 course (minus vertical work) that the NCRC (National Cave Rescue Commission) teaches crunched into 1.5-2 days.

It's not really designed to teach folks how to be a cave rescuer so much as to orient them to what is required or expected.

Generally around here we get a mix of cavers and agency folks which works really well. From time to time we'll get an agency person into caving which is great.

After the course though, cavers know what things like ICS are and agency folks know what it's like to operate in a cave. (For example, after the course they have a much better appreciation for why we might say, "yeah, the patient is only 150' from the entrance, we should have him out in 3 hours." :-)

We'll be doing one in Scoharie county in the fall most likely. Keep an eye open for an announcement.

If you have more questions, please let me know.