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Home National & State Parks California Lava Beds National Monument Forms Cave Rescue Team

Lava Beds National Monument Forms Cave Rescue Team

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Lava Beds National Monument in Tulelake, California now has a group of certified staff ready to conduct a safe and efficient cave rescue should the need arise, the National Park Service announced on July 22, 2013.

lavabeds_caverescuetrainingIn preparation for potential cave search and rescue incidents, Lava Beds recently hosted a cave rescue training course. Instructors from the National Cave Rescue Commission, a section of the National Speleological Society, donated substantial time and effort to educate 13 students – National Park Service staff, personnel from neighboring agencies, and members of local caving clubs and search and rescue teams.

For eight consecutive days, students were immersed in learning and practicing vertical rope skills, patient packaging, communication and search procedures, and litter transport through a variety of cave environments.

At the end of the week, a 12-hour mock rescue was held during which four "patients"were found and rescued from two separate caveswithin the monument.

The complicated logistics, along with physical demands of performing cave rescue procedures for a lost or injured patient, instilled a strong value for safe caving practices among students and instructors.

Every year Lava Beds National Monument welcomes more than 130,000 visitors, dozens of researchers, and a diverse seasonal staff hailing from across the United States.

The park estimates that 80 percent of visitors venture underground to enjoy the many lava tubes found here. Along with these intrepid visitors, staff and guest researchers support the management of geologic and biologic resources found within caves.

Even though Lava Beds now has a group of certified staff ready to conduct a safe and efficient cave rescue, visitors are reminded that they still responsible for their own safety while enjoying the underground adventures Lava Beds has to offer.

In order to cave safely and softly, each person should wear a helmet and bring three sources of light, food and water, warm and protective clothing (long sleeves and pants), closed toed shoes, kneepads and gloves, and a pee bottle and/or wag bag. It's best to explore as a group and know your own limits, using maps to establish and follow your route. Finally, be sure to tell someone where you're going, and enjoy your time in the lava tubes.

Information on the National Speleological Society and the National Cave Rescue Commission can be found at
www.caves.org/commission/ncrc/national/.

For more information about Lava Beds National Monument, visit the web site at
www.nps.gov/labe/ .

 
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