Date Modified By James Begley

ResCon 19 Saturday Activities

ResCon 19 Saturday Timetable

Activities during Saturday will be split between the main marquee at Ebborways Farm, and nearby at Wookey Hole Caves where there will be a number of training sessions taking place. In the afternoon a number of practical sessions at other nearby cave locations will be taking place.

Ebborways Farm Wookey Hole
08:00 Breakfast, and registration area open
10:00 Presentations, including 09:30 Arrive and prepare diving equipment
10:00 How to Find a Needle in a Haystack (Neil Reaich & Mark Jenkinson, MCR) 10:00 Surface control procedures for divers
10:45 CO2 Monitoring in Mendip Caves (Stuart MacManus & Martin Grass, MCR) 10:30 – 14:30 Practical Sessions, including
11:30 Crime Scene Awareness (Piers Hallihan, SMWCRT) Evacuation of a Diver through a Sump
Transportation of Equipment through a Sump
Hauling and Rescue Rigging
Use of Cave-link
Full Face Mask Familiarisation
10:00 – 16:00 Lyon Equipment Demonstrations and Kit Discussions
10:00 – 12:00 MREW Casualty Care Continual Development Signoff
12:00 – 00:00 Bar open for sale of refreshments
13:30 Practical Sessions, including
Underground Communication (Sludge Pit Hole)
CO2 Monitoring (Cuckoo Cleeves)
Updated Slix Stretcher Discussion (Wessex Tower)
15:00 All rescue team members to have exited from the cave
15:00 Classroom session, including
Observations & Evidence Gathering
Recovery of a Drowned Diver
16:00 Exploration of the World’s Deepest Cave and the Race to Escape It (Robbie Shone)
17:00 Wessex Challenge
19:30 Hog Roast / Vegetarian alternative
21:00 "Seatrees" Local band
00:00 Close

Note that unless indicated otherwise, all sessions are suitable for all cavers. None of the sessions in Wookey Hole on Saturday will be in locations which are inaccessible to non divers and the cave diving group invites non divers to participate in order to facilitate understanding of cave diving.

Saturday Presentations

How to Find a Needle in a Haystack (Neil Reaich & Mark Jenkinson, MCR)

The geographical area that Mendip Cave Rescue cover includes the abandoned Bath Stone mines, over towards Box in Wiltshire. These Stone Mines are both complex and potentially unstable, leading to a number of call-outs in recent years where parties of underground explorers have been lost. This has lead to the MCR Stone Mines team coming up with a new method of searching a complex series of passages for a (possibly) missing party that may be ill prepared for their trip.

CO2 Monitoring in Mendip Caves (Stuart MacManus & Martin Grass, MCR)

A number of Mendip caves has historically had issues with "bad air", usually interpreted to be an increase in CO2. Over recent months, some monitoring of a number of sites has has been taking place to try to help increase out understanding of this issue. This monitoring has included the use of standard commercially available detectors, along with the development of a home made detector, which has led to some interesting results.

Crime Scene Awareness (Piers Hallihan, SMWCRT)

Most cave rescue incidents are, fortunately, relatively straightforward and are resolved without any serious incident. However, on the rare occasions when the incident is more serious, it is important to remember that the scene of the incident may be treated as a scene of crime, whilst investigations can take place. Piers Hallihan, from South Wales Police, will give a presentation on the things that cave rescue teams should consider when dealing with a potential crime scene.

Exploration of the World’s Deepest Cave and the Race to Escape It (Robbie Shone)

Robbie Shone has been on a number of caving expeditions to remote parts of the world, where rescue would be difficult. Normally these expeditions pass without incident, but occasionally things can go wrong, and in September 2018 he was exploring and photographing at the furthest reaches of Veryovkina, the deepest cave in the world, when a flood pulse came through.

Observations & Evidence Gathering / Recovery of a Drowned Diver (John Volanthen & Andy Torbet, at Wookey Hole)

Classroom session to consider the steps and process around gathering evidence in the event of a drowned diver before considering the possibility of an underwater body recovery exercise.

Saturday Practical Sessions

Underground Communication (led by Tony Haigh & Estelle Sandford, at Sludge Pit Hole)

A session with the various underground to surface communication systems that are currently available to cave rescue teams, including the cave-link text messaging system, the Nicola 3 radio system (running the latest firmware), and the original HeyPhone and micro-heyphone. This session will have some people underground and some people on the surface.

Note that Sludge Pit Hole has a short ladder just inside the entrance, which will be rigged for the weekend, and those going underground will require a belay belt or suitable harness.

This session will be repeated on Sunday.

CO2 Monitoring (led by Stuart MacManus & Martin Grass, at Cuckoo Cleeves)

A session with the various gas monitoring and detection devices that are currently available to cave rescue teams, following on from the presentation earlier. There will be the "Four Gas" and "Five Gas" monitors, generously donated to cave rescue teams by Honeywell Analytics earlier this year, plus the use of a home made detector as described in the earlier presentation. Note that Cuckoo Cleeves has a short ladder at the entrance, which will be rigged for the weekend and those going underground will require a belay belt or suitable harness.

Warning: Cuckoo Cleeves has been chosen as the location for this session since there can be poor air quality in this cave, with a high build up of CO2, and people going underground should be aware of the symptoms of CO2 poisoning.

Updated Slix Stretcher Discussion (at Wessex Tower)

The Slix Stretcher has long been in use by cave rescue teams as a method of packaging and safely transporting an injured casualty. Cave rescue teams have been working with React (the manufacturer of the stretcher) on a number of improvements to make the Slix stretchers more applicable for cave rescue, with improvements to the design for C-Spine immobilisation and the head support of casualties and changes to the hauling positions. The final prototype will be available over the ResCon weekend, and this session will be held at the Wessex Tower to check these changes and improvements one final time.

Transportation of Equipment through a Sump (led by Josh Bratchley, at Wookey Hole Chamber 9)

The handling and packaging of equipment for transportation through sumps. Equipment which can get wet as well as items which cannot often need to be transported through sumps. The latter can be carried in specially constructed ‘dry tubes’ which can withstand being submerged to significant depths. All items being carried whether wet or dry need to be packed and weighted correctly. This is an opportunity for both divers and non-divers to experiment with this equipment. Bulky items such as drills and cave radios can present a particular challenge with interesting options.

Hauling and Rescue Rigging (led by Andrew Atkinson, at Wookey Hole Chamber 9)

A practical session to look at various methods of rigging to safely manoeuvre a casualty in stretcher around underground vertical drops. The session will include rigging a basic haul, a counterbalanced haul and a tyrolean. This session is aimed at both divers and non-divers.

Cave rescuers wanting to be involved in the rigging and hauling elements of this session will require a harness and cowstails.

Evacuation of a Diver through a Sump / Full Face Mask Familiarisation (led by Chris Jewell & Andy Torbet, at Wookey Hole Resurgence)

A session to explore the current thinking around evacuating a diver through a sump and how to practice this process. Using the resurgence pool at Wookey Hole, cave divers and cavers will be able to practice the transition from on land stretcher carry to underwater transportation. The session will then move on to looking at the currently available cave rescue full face masks as well as a ‘positive pressure’ mask similar to those used in the Thailand cave rescue. Non divers are welcome and encouraged to participate in this session.

Saturday Other Sessions

Lyon Equipment Demonstrations and Kit Discussions

Lyon Equipment will have a display area with the ability to show, demonstrate and discuss items of kit close up with people throughout the weekend, including a quad-pod and tri-pod, basket stretcher and a full range of small items.

MREW Casualty Care Continual Development Signoff

The Mountain Rescue England & Wales Casualty Care Course now includes a number of Continual Development elements, leading up to the exam, practical assessment and qualification that lasts for three years. All Casualty Care qualified cave rescue team members area expected to be able to indicate a basic level of proficiency in a number of skills in the period leading up to the exam and assessment. Mendip Cave Rescue will have some equipment available (and suitably qualified medical experts) to allow casualty care cave rescue team members to demonstrate their proficiency and get sign off for a number of skills.

Wessex Challenge

The Wessex Challenge will be held, starting at approximately 17:00. This is a team obstacle course race that is held every couple of years, as a social occasion between Mendip Caving Clubs. This year the challenge will have a rescue theme, and visiting rescue teams are encouraged to take part.


"Seatrees" are a local band playing electric and acoustic guitars (including the ukulele), drums, bass & harmonica. They play a mixture of rock, folk and pop cover tracks, along with some original tunes which have built up a loyal following in the Somerset area.