WSS Caving Safety Rules

Caving Safety Rules

Most caving does not involve any special skills, but it is a new environment. With care, there is not likely to be an accident. Acts of God can not be avoided, however. Never try to do, or feel that you should be expected to do, anything that you are not comfortable with. Caving can be an exhausting sport and people will tire and chill easily, especially beginners. The leader should go no faster than the slowest person in the group. If he does, complain. If anyone can not stay warm, then it is time for everyone to leave. A tired or cold person is the one who will have an accident. A cave rescue is not fun for the other trip members, the rescue team, the police, the landowner, the WSS, and especially not for the victim.

The Wisconsin State Patrol can be reached at 1- 608 - 246- 3220. Local authorities can call the Air Force Rescue Coordination Center at 1- 800- 851 - 3051 and ask for the National Cave Rescue Commission.

NEVER CAVE ALONE. This cardinal safety precaution must never be broken. The minimum sized group for any caving trip is four. If one person gets hurt, one person can remain with the victim while the other two go for help, with one of those two returning with emergency supplies while the other waits for rescue personnel. The only time a smaller group should go is if all persons are very experienced and properly equipped. Even if you are with a larger group, don't go off on your own.

Remember, you must always supply your own light. Be sure that you have enough light for your trip, and some extra for emergencies. If your lights fail or you become lost or confused, the best thing is to make yourself comfortable and wait right there. (This is where your extra food and trash bag come in handy.) You will soon be missed and looked for.

The leader of the trip is responsible for the safety of the group. The leader's wishes must be respected. You should also tell the leader about any medical or other conditions that might affect the safety and enjoyment of the trip. Just because you have been on a trip or two does not make you competent to lead a trip. The cave is a new environment, and proper leadership skills can only learned by experience.

It is important to look back frequently on the way in. The passages present an entirely different aspect when traveled in the opposite direction.

Drugs and caving do not mix and will not be tolerated. If you must party, wait until the trip is over. NEVER BEFORE OR DURING.