NSS Cave Rescue Section

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NSS Cave Rescue Section

Postby caverdoc » Jan 23, 2008 10:17 pm

Hello everybody, I am Jay Kennedy and I was elected President of the Cave Rescue Section at the Indiana 2007 NSS Convention :bananabat: . We had some interesting ideas passed around and the big question I have debated ever since rumbling back to Kansas last year is:

What can the NSS Cave Rescue Section do for the NSS? :help:

We are in no manner intended to replace the National Cave Rescue Commission as a training body. One of the ideas advanced at the 2007 meeting was for us to serve as a clearinghouse for information on cave rescue in the United States :patriotic2: , especially among the National Speleological Society members. At one time we had a newsletter, the Muddy Litter Letter but it has not been produced in some time. What should the newsletter convey?

Gary and Barbara Moss have done a commendable job of holding the section together the last couple years. A new website and list serve were discussed at the 2007 meeting and I would like to see at least the beginnings of an on-line archive of non-sensitive cave rescue information. There are plenty of good online sources for caving information but rescue-specific information can be a little sparse. At one time there was a "Self-rescue Group" list serve but I don't believe any of the information has been updated since the year 2000. Should we try to move this information to an NSS server?

During the year I have agreed to serve as President I would like to at least get some defined role and structure back in the Rescue Section. I enjoy training with NCRC (two Intro to Cave Rescue courses, Level One completed in the past two years) but also enjoy the Canadian techniques taught by the British Columbia Cave Rescue Commission. I've taken 1.5 of their small-party rescue courses (the "half-course" conducted by Phil Whitfield as part of the 2002 International SRT Exchange in the Teton Mountains of Idaho/Wyoming) as well as the highly stimulating week-long exercise known as "boot camp." I'm open to suggestions about what we, the Cave Rescue Section, can do to better serve the American caving community.

I welcome your input, constructive advice preferred! :thanks:

Jay Kennedy MD
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Re: NSS Cave Rescue Section

Postby Carl Amundson » Jan 23, 2008 11:22 pm

What should the Muddy Litter cover?

Well I like the idea of passing on information to the caving community in general.
Other then the NCRC, there is no other group that teaches cave rescue techniques.
The Muddy Litter could help pass on tips/techniques for caving safely.

Most cavers are self taught. It is information that is passed on from person to person.
There are some good book out there, "On Rope" , "Alpine Caving Techniques" and "Life on a Line" to name a few.
But most cavers will not bother with them.

There is a lot of information spread out all over the web on caving and small party rescue techniques.
I would like to see the Muddy Litter help distribute this type of information to the larger caving community.
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Re: NSS Cave Rescue Section

Postby ArCaver » Jan 24, 2008 6:47 am

It would be interesting to see the self-rescue list serve revived. Are there archives of "The Muddy Litter Letter" online?
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Re: NSS Cave Rescue Section

Postby caverdoc » Jan 24, 2008 9:56 am

Junkman and ARcaver

Duly noted, and thanks for your input. I agree about what should be included in the Muddy Litter Letter and have a few articles that I could contribute. It should not be too difficult to secure authors' permission to reproduce, given our non-profit status.

When I started caving in the '70s we had the Caving Information Series which contained some articles that were excellent in that time period. Many of them could be updated. Several excellent books are out there (as mentioned above) and at a minimum each grotto that has members involved in vertical caving should own copies for the members to borrow. Grotto newsletters have been an excellent source of "rescue preparation" articles over the years, and often these articles are so good they get included in that year's edition of SpeleoDigest While we don't need to write yet another book/manual, it would be helpful to have access to these articles someplace.

I've been researching proper hypothermia treatment (paper research/journal review) since 2002. Harness hang syndrome treatment is a parallel track, not much is written on the subject (no doubt due to the limited audience). A UK author had an excellent treatise on harness hang syndrome produced for the inductrial access community a few years back. I believe there is a link to it on this NSS discussion board. Hopefully in the next month I'll get enough time to prepare a brief paper.

Gary and Barbara have gotten the email list serve up, I just don't have my login directions handy. We really could/should have a webpage to archive useful articles.

Once again, thanks for responding!

Dr Jay
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Re: NSS Cave Rescue Section

Postby NZcaver » Jan 24, 2008 11:29 am

Jay - thanks for running with the ball on this. :wtg:

A few thoughts...

Like you, I feel an active (or more active) CRS has the potential to fill a niche by disseminating information and bridging the gap a little between a wide variety of caving, rescue, and related organizations in the US and abroad.

I agree the majority of efforts should be focused on presenting information online, and most of that should be accessible to all (not just NSS members). Revamping the website should be a priority. Personally, I've always thought a better name could be found for a newsletter than the Muddy Litter Letter... but regardless of what it's called, any future issues should be produced electronically rather than being mailed. It could be done in regular PDF format, or individual page layout like the Nylon Highway uses. It would be good to have old issues available electronically too. I suggest the CRS continues to offer no-charge membership for NSS members, and anyone can become a member by attending a meeting at Convention or applying by email.

Relevant NSS sources to start tapping could include the Medical, Vertical, Comms/Electronics, and the Diving Section. The Safety and Techniques Committee should also be on the list. Any small party/self-rescue information would certainly be valuable, as this is something not often covered in regular NCRC training and other disciplines. Outside the NSS, more information could be drawn from mine rescue, con-space rescue, technical rope rescue, wilderness SAR, mountaineering, wilderness medical sources, and the list goes on. Other sources outside the US could be particularly useful, like the BCCR, BCRO, and more. I see no problem with harvesting relevant articles from other sources and publications (with permission of course) and using them to supplement our own original newsletter material.

That's it - I'm all out of constructive thoughts for now... :grin:
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Re: NSS Cave Rescue Section

Postby kmstill » Jan 25, 2008 12:31 pm

Dr J-
concurr with the above-

also in an education theme, esp if distribution is for more than just the NSS community, an occasional balanced article for distibution regarding caving risks and mitigation for the non/potential caver public and splunker population.

probably because caving is such a "niche" activity, I think there are many non-cavers that view caving as especially dangerous or high-risk (as compared to "common" activities like skiing, biking, rollerblading, and apparently... bullriding), and at the other end of the spectrum, splunkers who obviously fail to recognize the most common concerns.

most of this type of info I've found out there is basics regarding what you should have/do rather than a concise and non-technical analysis of problems (such as an estimate of accident rates, and preventable causes, e.g. "hypothermia accounts for x% of caving incidents and can reasonably be prevented by....." or "although falls account for the largest number of caving injuries, in 200X the number of fall-related injuries was less than 1/x# cave-hours (or whatever, though it would be a hard and rough estimate) and x% could reasonably be prevented by proper training/gear/technique). Maybe thow in a few comparisions to mainstream sports for good measure.

such a lay "public education" reference would be useful ammunition to those of us that have to get permission from the boss - be it work, wife, or mom- to cave :). at the very least, it might save me some headache and a few lengthy formal risk assessments.
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Re: NSS Cave Rescue Section

Postby NZcaver » Jan 25, 2008 12:43 pm

kmstill wrote:...also in an education theme, esp if distribution is for more than just the NSS community, an occasional balanced article for distibution regarding caving risks and mitigation for the non/potential caver public and splunker population.

Hi Kelly,

That's a good point, which reminds me I forgot to mention the ACA in my previous post. :doh: Each issue (and the website) contains a treasure trove of information, and it might be nice to see some statistics and further analysis presented in future CRS newsletters and/or the website.
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Re: NSS Cave Rescue Section

Postby caverdoc » Jan 25, 2008 12:55 pm

Kelly
One of the more recent ACA's had the breakdown by percentage of DOCUMENTED caving accidents/cause (of course, we'll likely never know the factual number, since people don't report every accident and press coverage does not cover them all...at least the ones that occur outside the NSS community). You can quote those facts to the commander. I believe I can understand the levels of permission you need to enjoy our favorite "indoor" activity (caving, let's be serious folks...).

Keep the good input coming folks. I want to revive the section, sounds like others are willing to help breathe new life in it as well.

Dr Jay
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Re: NSS Cave Rescue Section

Postby shibumi » Jan 26, 2008 10:37 pm

kmstill wrote:Dr J-
most of this type of info I've found out there is basics regarding what you should have/do rather than a concise and non-technical analysis of problems (such as an estimate of accident rates, and preventable causes, e.g. "hypothermia accounts for x% of caving incidents and can reasonably be prevented by....." or "although falls account for the largest number of caving injuries, in 200X the number of fall-related injuries was less than 1/x# cave-hours (or whatever, though it would be a hard and rough estimate) and x% could reasonably be prevented by proper training/gear/technique). Maybe thow in a few comparisions to mainstream sports for good measure.

kelly :tonguecheek:


At the 2003 NSS convention in Porterville, CA, there was just such a presentation at the CRS meeting. I cannot
remember who did it, but he went through all of the ACAs and any other source of information on cave rescues
that he could find, collated the data, and presented various statistics such as type of injury, primary and secondary
causes, gender, age, day of the week, time of day, etc. I have also seen in the past cavers who have attempted
to do actuarials on the number of cave accidents/deaths/man-hour caved, and while a lot of that would be a SWAG,
the number was incredibly low.

What came as a surprise to me is that all NCRC BORC members (Tim, listening here???) are automatically CRS members per the CRS by-laws. At Porterville I had like five proxies from BORC members for the summer meeting so I constituted a majority voting bloc at the CRS meeting.

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Re: NSS Cave Rescue Section

Postby cavedoc » Jan 27, 2008 12:39 am

shibumi wrote:At the 2003 NSS convention in Porterville, CA, there was just such a presentation at the CRS meeting. I cannot
remember who did it, but he went through all of the ACAs and any other source of information on cave rescues
that he could find, collated the data, and presented various statistics such as type of injury, primary and secondary
causes, gender, age, day of the week, time of day, etc.


That was Rich Breisch (sp?). I think Bill Putnam has similar data but don't know if he has presented it anywhere.
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