The following appeared in the August 8, 1996 edition of
Cavers Get A Lesson in Self Rescue
by Arlene Shovald
Mail Staff Writer
©1996 Arlene Shovald. Used with permission.
Having a medical or accident emergency in a cave can be an unnerving
Usually the caver is in a remote area, alone or with maybe a few other
people in the party to rely on for help.
Cindy Heazlit, a caver from San Jose, Calif., told participants of the
National Speleological Society Convention at Salida High School about the
western region's plans to research and develop techniques for self-rescue
during a seminar Tuesday.
"Cavers in the western region often travel to remote areas to do
their caving," Heazlit said. "Many of these areas are not serviced
by search-and-rescue or cave-rescue teams. Outside response could take
hours or even days.
"Meanwhile, the caving party must deal with the accident, using
only the people and equipment at hand. Cavers need to be ready to serve
as first responders."
In the autumn of 1994, several western region cavers formed a committee
to research and develop cave rescue techniques.
That committee developed a curriculum for teaching self-rescue to the
average caver and has started teaching classes within the western region.
Heazlit's talk covered the basic needs of the wilderness caver, specific
problems faced in the western region and lessons learned during the development
of the self-rescue curriculum.
Heazlit is herself an enthusiastic caver, having been involved with
the sport 17 years.
"Caving followed climbing for me," Heazlit said. "I enjoyed
climbing, and caving just seemed to follow. I also work as a volunteer
scientific researcher for the National Park Service, and that also was
associated with caving to some extent."