MENDIP CAVE RESCUE: Cave Rescue and Corona Virus

Following on from the Prime Ministers statement on Sunday re the easing of restrictions some people have asked about caving.

Firstly I will stress that it is not Mendip Cave Rescues job to tell cavers if or where they should go caving.

However, the following should be bourne in mind.

The PM made it very clear that you can meet one friend outside keeping 2 mts distance. Caves are not outside and the caving code states a minimum of 4 in a group. So unless it is a family living together its difficult.

The only pastimes allowed are golf, tennis and those where social distancing can be maintained. It cannot be maintained in caving.

MCR have made certain preparations if we are called out but the practicalities of wearing PPE in a cave would make any rescue prolonged. In addition we have protocols issued by BCRC where all equipment needs to be treated with disinfectant.

Of course we would not hesitate to attend a call out but it could take longer than normal with some cavers self-isolating. Not only would rescuers be putting themselves at risk of contracting the virus from a casualty but the casualty would also be at risk from the rescuers.

The goodwill we have with landowners on Mendip could well be put in jeopardy if cavers start arriving. The club huts are all still closed as are most caves. The two longest caves, St. Cuthberts and Swildons Hole are closed to cavers until the lockdown is lifted.

Finally caving and British Caving in particular gained enormous praise from the public and great PR following on from the Thailand rescue in 2018. One rescue will put the current positive profile that caving has back for years.

So please stay safe.

Martin Grass
Honorary Secretary
Mendip Cave Rescue
13 May 2020

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BCA: Information on Coronavirus and Caving

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BCRC: Guidance Should a Return to Underground Activity Become Available

BCRC have issued a press release on the coronavirus giving guidance should a return to underground activity become available. See the BCRC Website.

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For the latest on how coronavirus is affecting access see Access News.

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