Cave Rescue Conference
Participants representing many of the BCRC cave rescue teams gathered at the Rotary Centre, Castleton, Derbyshire over the weekend of 24-26 June 2022. This was a welcome resumption of the biennial BCRC cave rescue conferences, albeit a year delayed from the historic pattern, due of course to the Covid pandemic.
The BCRC Executive wishes to extend our immense gratitude to Allan Berry, as chairman representing Derbyshire Cave Rescue Organisation, the team that took on the responsibility to host ResCon22. We are tremendously grateful to Pete Knight of DCRO, co-opted as BCRC Conference Secretary, for stepping up to lead the local organisation committee and to all the DCRO colleagues who worked with Pete to achieve a very successful cave rescue conference. This was not an easy task, there remained uncertainties over the nature of the event and capacity of the venue in light of Covid risk assessments and the continuing fluctuations in Covid infection rates. So, all the more respect to the team for dealing with those additional pressures around the organisation.
Congratulations to DCRO for devising a varied and interesting programme of events, offering a very enjoyable mix of talks and practical workshops on all disciplines associated with cave rescue, and with some excellent social events woven into the programme (Friday night quiz, Saturday hog roast and rescue race). Many thanks to all those from across the cave rescue community who offered and presented talks or practical workshops, sharing their expertise and stimulating discussion. The equipment displays and technical demonstrations set up by Lyon Work and Rescue and Starless River were also very much appreciated.
Special thanks to Tom Cunningham of OneTribeTV for attending on the Saturday evening to present a special screening of the documentary account of the Ogof Ffynnon Ddu rescue produced for BBC Wales. Also, to George Linnane and some of those involved in his rescue for their willingness to sit on a panel after the screening and answer questions about the rescue operation and filming of the documentary.
During the closing comments on Sunday, there was appropriate recognition of all the team behind the scenes that had contributed to the catering, the evening bar, washing up, cleaning and tidying of the facilities and providing information/ orientation to delegates from the registration desk throughout the weekend. This included a special presentation by Peter Dennis on behalf of the BCRC Executive, to Bill Whitehouse, a fitting occasion since Bill is a senior member of both DCRO and BCRC. That was to recognize Bill’s service in support of cave rescue, notably the essential work to represent and support cave rescue within the wider Search and Rescue community, remarkably for more than 40 years. A separate tribute will follow.
Thank you once again to all involved who made this such a successful event. ResCon facilitates the sharing of skills and best practice, gaining experience with unfamiliar kit and procedures, general discussion around all aspects of cave rescue, and appreciation of variations practiced by different teams adapted to their specific underground situations. This all helps to enable effective co-operation and integration of team members into a single rescue effort when colleagues from other teams are called upon to assist a team during a major cave rescue incident.