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Date: 21st February 2012.

Action E.3 ‐ 1st training of Cave Rescue Unit in Croatia –Report

Participants: Total: 25 rescuers, 7 from JRS and 18 from CMRS (station Zagreb 8, station Rijeka 4, station Pula 1, station Sibenik 3, station Bjelovar 2, station Split2, station Zadar 2, station Delnice 2 and station Karlovac 1).

Where: The first plan was to held course in Mountain Promina, in mountain hut and local cave, suitable for training at 18th of February. Normally for this region, Mediterranean climatic zone that there is no or just few cm of snow fall in winter time. But unexpectedly heavy snowing blocked mountain roads (fall over 1m of snow) so this location became unapproachable with vehicles. Then we decide to move location of a course to Starigrad – Paklenica in CRMS hut and in Cave Modrica. Accept that location of course was moved as was planed all necessary facilities and cave ambient were equally suitable course.

How: The course was consisting from two parts – theoretical and practical. Theoretical part includes lectures (program of lectures below) where the participants were informed about cave rescue operation management, risk analysis, organizing team for approach and victim assessment and analyzing cave rescue gear, technique and maneuvers for stretchers evacuation. In a practical part was trained to set all types of bivouac, how to treat hypothermia. Practical demonstration and training was performed in a classroom in CRMS hut, in a field in front of
the hut and in Cave Modric.

Results: During the course instructors and members of team completely evaluated cave rescue operation management, the organizing of the first approach and basic assessment to the victim and technique for victim evacuation. Compatibility was established in large cave rescue operation management. The operational board has to be consisting from several members, managers responsible for each task in rescue operation. The leader of whole operation is responsible for whole operation and supervises managers' activity. The tasks are planning and organizing victim evacuation, medical healthcare, communication, organizing humane recourses support, organizing support in technical equipments, gear and ropes, public relations and logistic support (food supply and organizing camp activates). The first and most important team of cave rescue operation is team for basic assessment. The team has to be primarily organized and sent to intervention. According with conclusions, the significant of injuries in Slovenia and Croatia are much higher but the accidents are rear. The reason for that, both sides agreed, are that the caves are much more difficult for visiting and exploration. Cavers needs much more gear for armoring; therefore have to be well trained. So relatively small number or there is not at all accidents where the caver is simply exhausted, stay without food, light. Instead we have absolutely small but relatively high number accidents with heavy injuries. The first team has to be expending with fifth member who has to be responsible just for progression in cave and goes the first and checked progression ropes. The other four teams have to be responsible to take victim assessment. They have to find victim, check his status, make transfers to bivouac and do complete examination. Since we have relatively high percentage of heavy injuries imperative is to always as possible have doctor in this team. The team will monitor victim status
and reports status to the surface to leader of operation. This team will if needs ask for necessary requirements, supply or for some important medical intervention. The team will prepare victim for evacuation to the surface when technical team's armor cave wit evacuation line. We analyzed bivouacs in used and agreed that all have advantages in certain cave conditions and type of rescue operation and all will be in used.
During the course we analyzed the gear that we use, standards and cave rescue maneuvers. Synchronization in this field was no necessary. Both cave rescue services, Slovenian and Croatian were initially trained by Speleo secours Francaise adopt their gear, standards and cave rescue maneuvers. The benefits of this course was the first synchronization was done in cave rescue operation management and the first approach and assessment of victim, while was confirmed that both services used same gear and cave rescue maneuvers standards.