Since the team took on responsibility for the Gwent area at the end of 2009 we have recognised that our knowledge of some of the larger systems was not as extensive as it could have been. It was decided that, rather than hammering through stretcher drills, this exercise would be used to fill those knowledge gaps.

36 people took part in this practice which had 2 main objectives.

1)     To “survey” the main trade routes around the cave, taking note of any obstacles which may hamper the movement of a stretcher.

2)     To establish Heyphone communications at various points throughout the cave, noting the correlating surface locations.

On the whole the day was very successful. A lot of useful data relating to stretcher movement and comms locations, both surface and underground, has been recorded for addition to the search plans. Some training areas have been identified and will feature in later exercises. There are no more large training events planned for this year but there may be some training evenings over the winter. You don’t need to be a team member to attend any practice or training evening so if you want to come along and see what we’re all about, keep an eye on the website. There are important roles for every skill and ability level so don’t worry if you’re new to caving, you can still play an active part.