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    The following appeared in the August 8, 1996 edition of The Mountain Mail

    Cavers Get A Lesson in Self Rescue
    by Arlene Shovald
    Mail Staff Writer
    ©1996 Arlene Shovald. Used with permission.


    Heazlit's pic

    Having a medical or accident emergency in a cave can be an unnerving experience.

    Usually the caver is in a remote area, alone or with maybe a few other people in the party to rely on for help.

    Cindy Heazlit, a caver from San Jose, Calif., told participants of the National Speleological Society Convention at Salida High School about the western region's plans to research and develop techniques for self-rescue during a seminar Tuesday.

    "Cavers in the western region often travel to remote areas to do their caving," Heazlit said. "Many of these areas are not serviced by search-and-rescue or cave-rescue teams. Outside response could take hours or even days.

    "Meanwhile, the caving party must deal with the accident, using only the people and equipment at hand. Cavers need to be ready to serve as first responders."

    In the autumn of 1994, several western region cavers formed a committee to research and develop cave rescue techniques.

    That committee developed a curriculum for teaching self-rescue to the average caver and has started teaching classes within the western region.

    Heazlit's talk covered the basic needs of the wilderness caver, specific problems faced in the western region and lessons learned during the development of the self-rescue curriculum.

    Heazlit is herself an enthusiastic caver, having been involved with the sport 17 years.

    "Caving followed climbing for me," Heazlit said. "I enjoyed climbing, and caving just seemed to follow. I also work as a volunteer scientific researcher for the National Park Service, and that also was associated with caving to some extent."


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Copyright ©1998 Cindy Heazlit for The Self Rescue Group
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