Meeting Date and Venue
The Canterbury Caving Club meet at the Beckenham
Scout Den, on Centaurus Road on the 2nd Tuesday of the month.
The meetings start at 7.30pm.
Caving Group Trip Leaders Guidelines & Checklist
These guidelines are intended only as a guide and
memory-jogger, not a rigid set of rules. Do not hesitate to
contact the Club Trips Coordinator or a committee member for
BEFORE THE TRIP
Assess your abilities
· Is the chosen cave well within your own capabilities? You can't be in charge of a group if you are not prepared for most situations.
· Prior knowledge of the cave, and certainty of its location, are normally prerequisites for leadership of an official club trip. Alternatively, you may be able to use a reliable team member for knowledge of the cave and its location.
· Be competent in techniques required for the proposed cave, especially if SRT or ladders are required.
· Be aware of the contents and implications of the NZSS Ethical Guidelines.
· Have local knowledge of land ownership, land access concerns, and restrictions of land access.
· Understand the effect of rain on the caves to be visited.
Things to do
· Obtain permission from appropriate landowner if necessary.
· Set maximum and minimum numbers, depending on the type of trip, vulnerability of the cave, accommodation and transport.
· Consult maps, books, and knowledgeable cavers to find out all you can about the cave including the difficulties involved and the equipment required.
· Decide what group gear (eg. ropes, etc.) will be needed and who is going to bring it.
· Obtain a weather forecast and decide whether or not to choose another cave(s) or cancel.
· Arrange a Contact Person, whose responsibilities are described in a subsequent section.
· Take names and the following details of people who want to go on the trip:
o Telephone numbers.
o Who can take a car.
o Ability and experience of each member of the group, in relation to experience required in the caves to be visited.
· Provide these details to the Contact Person.
· During the week before the trip phone/email the participants to tell them:
o Personal gear needed, and any other special equipment.
o Accommodation details.
o The name, role and phone number of the Contact Person. Ask them to pass on the details of the Contact Person to family/friends/flatmates.
o Where and when to meet, and transport arrangements.
o Approximate time of return.
A couple of things to remember
· If any participants are under 18 years of age, trip leaders have a duty of care towards minors. If parents are present on the trip, then they are responsible (this would be the usual case for the club). If under 18s wish to participate on a trip without their parents, they must have parental permission. You must ensure that parents are fully aware of all aspects of the trip.
· It is normal practice for club trips to be available to any club members, plus other interested people (e.g., friends or new members). However, in some cases the leader may have to make a decision as to the optimum number of people on the trip, particularly in vertical caves where smaller parties are preferable.
DURING THE TRIP
Before entering the cave
· Before leaving camp, introduce people and make sure that everyone has all the gear they need.
· Before leaving the car(s) for the cave, everyone should know where the car keys are hidden.
· Remind everyone to try to remember the route from the car to the cave (in order to negotiate it solo in the event of an emergency, or in the dark if necessary).
· Before entering the cave, briefly describe the cave to the group, approximate length of time inside the cave, and cover risk management:
o What hazards participants might expect to encounter
o Procedure to follow if someone gets lost
o Procedure to follow in the event of an injury, or if someone is feeling sick, unconfident or outside their comfort zone
o Conservation issues/impact on the cave
o Other ethical issues to consider when in the cave
In the cave
· Keep newcomers or beginners in the middle of the group.
· Decide on regular stops for water, food, carbide, and regrouping.
· At any potentially dangerous place, such as fast-flowing water, traverses, climbs, or abseils, make certain that nobody is alone and everyone knows what to do.
· Advise less-experienced members of the party when to put on more clothes, etc.
· Watch for people tiring, stumbling, etc. Be alert for hypothermia, and, if necessary, stop before it is too late. Know what to do if someone becomes hypothermic.
AFTER THE TRIP
· Tell the Contact Person that you have returned.
· Hired or borrowed gear should be washed and returned.
· Calculate fuel costs, and pay out petrol money to drivers.
· Ensure that one member of party writes a trip report, and submits it to the Cavity Editor.
RESPONSIBILITIES OF THE CONTACT PERSON
For all CCG trips, trip leaders are required to appoint a Contact Person in Christchurch. The Contact Person may be a partner, flatmate, or a committee member, but should preferably be an experienced caver. The role of the Contact Person is to be available by phone in case of contingencies. These could include a cave search and rescue, a vehicle breakdown or road accident, sudden illness, or simply a change of plan.
The trip leader should give details of the Contact Person to all party members for them to pass on to family/friends/flatmates. Concerned family/friends/flatmates should phone the Contact Person FIRST before phoning the Police or DoC.
Likewise, the leader should have provided names and contact phone numbers of friends/relatives/flatmates to the Contact Person for each member of the caving party.
Because we run most of our club trips outside of Canterbury, trip leaders may also wish to contact as a liaison person, a caver in the destination area to let them know that a party will be using caves in the area (see below). Ideally this caver in the destination area should also know who the Contact Person is.
There are two scenarios in which the Contact Person should act:
(1) If there is concern about the non-return of the party
(2) If a member of the party, or a caver in the destination area, reports an emergency.
At that point the specific responsibilities of the contact person are as follows:
· If the party is overdue, consider the gravity of the situation. For example, if the weather has deteriorated you might expect a delay, so there is no cause for undue concern. Perhaps they have been delayed by the hot pools at Maruia?
· Phone our local search and rescue ("SAR") coordinator (details below), or phone a CCG committee member, to discuss the situation.
· If they haven't already phoned you, phone the friends/relatives/flatmates on your contact list to let them know the situation, and to inform them of the actions you plan to take. Reassure them that procedures are being followed if they phone in an agitated state.
· Try to contact DoC (or the appropriate landowner) to let people in the area know the situation, or ask the caver contact in the destination area to do this.
· Phone the police only when it is time to lodge a missing persons report (thus initiating a full-scale cave SAR), preferably after having discussed this with the SAR co-ordinator or a CCG committee member.
· Should a friend/relative/flatmate contact the police directly, the police would still expect to contact the Contact Person, and the SAR Coordinator, for their comments before taking any action. Therefore be prepared to give your opinion on any action to be taken; for example, if you are prepared to wait 12 hours before initiating a search, say so.
RECOMMENDED GEAR TO
Things for inside the cave
· Cave map(s)
· Small backpack or cave pack
· First aid kit - minimum one per party
· Survival blanket
· SAR form
· Clothing: overalls (or something snug-fitting, as loose clothing can catch on cave walls); with polypro long johns and tops OR woollen trousers and jerseys OR polar fleece garments top and bottom; woollen or warm socks; gumboots OR light-weight tramping boots OR heavy track shoes; rubber gloves or heavier kitchen gloves.
· Spare clothing in waterproof bags
· Spare carbide in waterproof container and carbide waste container, if appropriate
· Extra batteries (fresh ones!), spare bulbs
· Small pocket knife
· Food in waterproof container
· Water bottle
· Helmet: a caving/climbing helmet, safety or bike helmet (with light source attached).
· Three light sources per person are essential:
o Electric light or torch (securely attached to helmet) OR carbide unit
o Spare electric light source
o Another spare light source such as a small Maglite around neck, or a spotting torch
Things to have after caving
· Complete change of dry clothing (almost always necessary)
· One or two large plastic bags to put your dirty gear in
· A towel (optional)
· Thermos with milo etc (optional)
General trip gear
· Sleeping bag (tent and ground sheet if camping)
· Personal toiletries/medications
· Maps (of region)
· Food for eating at camp
· Cutlery and utensils
· Camera and film
· Insect repellent
· Tramping gear where appropriate, e.g., Mt Arthur or Mt Owen trips
As a trip leader you have an ethical code of conduct and responsibility to the cave environment. It is recommended that you communicate this code to all members of your party before entering the cave. You should be familiar with the New Zealand Speleological Society Handbook (4th Edition 2002). This book details everything you need to know about cave ethics. Below is a summary of the information on pages 21-24 (you received a copy of this book when you joined NZSS, take the time to read it. It's good!).
Conservation and Protection of Caves:
Cavers and Landowners:
Most caves on the DOC estate are "Open Access" to cavers, but a permit is necessary for Metro Cave, Hollywood Cave, and Babylon Cave (contact Pene Davis of DOC – email@example.com - Paparoa National Park) and Honeycomb Hill Cave (contact Graeme Quinn of DOC – firstname.lastname@example.org - Kahurangi National Park) in the South Island.
NZSS Trip Leaders Guidelines, November 2002.
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