Cave Rescue & Coronavirus – Update

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BRIEFING NOTE – 12 May 2020, 

Guidance Should a Return to Underground Activity Become Available

Update for cavers, mine explorers and the media compiled 23:10h BST, Monday 11 May 2020

Guidance from the government and the devolved parliaments on outdoor activities varies greatly across the British Isles. This is also reflected in the different laws which apply. People must follow the guidance and rules for the area in which they wish to exercise, including the social distancing rules.

Cave Rescue teams have been on call and ready throughout the COVID-19 lockdown (introduced to reduce SARS-CoV-2 virus spread) and have planned to be able to provide their specialised service as the crisis continues. Where and when caving is permitted and access is available BCRC asks that anyone who chooses to go caving or other underground activity consider the following points before setting out.

  • Stick to government and local authority guidance on social distancing and permitted activities. Remember that rules may be different in different areas of the British Isles. Respect those differences.
  • Take special care when caving. remember that you may not be ‘cave fit’ and you may need to build up to your previous capability.
  • There is likely to be a surge in numbers of people going caving, please do not crowd popular caves and be flexible in your plans to avoid a cave or shorten/amend a trip to maintain social distancing.
  • Do not forget basic caving safety including checking the weather, ensuring your kit, including lamps and safety kit is checked and safe and you have left an appropriate call out. #BeAdventureSafe
  • Local Advice – Please refer to the websites of regional caving bodies and local authorities for specific local advice, as the rules vary. For example you are likely to find all car parks and visitor facilities (visitor centres, café’s, toilets) at country parks and countryside heritage sites are still closed.

If in any doubt about these points – do not go caving. Cave Rescue teams are volunteer teams. They may be undermanned and there may be delays in a team’s response. Cave rescue teams will be using appropriate PPE, but be aware that this is in short supply. Be sensible and do not put your fellow cavers at risk.

BCRC Executive committee

Ceredigian COVID-19 notice

NFU Scotland COVID notice

Lake District COVID notice