SMWCRT Report: Rescue Practice  - Ogof Ffynnon Ddu 1 Sat 1/12/18



The final rescue practice of 2018, normally referred to as the ‘Big OFD Practice’, turned out to be an exceptionally well attended event with 66 cavers taking part including representatives from Ireland, North Wales, The Midlands and Mendip.


We had previously decided to use OFD1 as the venue, even though at this time of year we anticipated that there might be problems with high water levels in the main stream.  The reasoning was to provide a suitable scenario(s) in an area of the cave that we had not practiced in for a number of years, giving team members a different set of problems to tackle away from the familiarity of the Top Entrance area.


At an early stage in our planning, it was realised that a large number of team members would probably be taking part so we initially worked on two challenging scenarios that although separate would, when combined, cover a realistic casualty evacuation.  Water levels on the day proved to be dramatically high and we had to plan new scenarios that confined us to the escape route and upper reaches of the cave.  These involved one team evacuating a casualty from Pi Chamber and across Bolt Traverse whilst the other team carried another casualty from the other side of the traverses, through the Dugout and finally a haul up the Entrance Pitch.  This gave plenty of technicality as well as allowing both teams to start carrying early whilst their respective rigging parties prepared the forward route. As always, in addition to these underground teams, a full surface control team kept everything running smoothly while the communications support relayed necessary messages from underground to surface and vice versa.


We hope that everyone who attended experienced a worthwhile session with the opportunity to learn new skills and techniques or refresh existing ones.  Both underground parties completed their respective tasks comprehensively and as always, lessons were learnt which will be added to our knowledge base and taken forward to use in a real rescue situation. 


Finally, thank you to all those who attended and for your continued support to the team.


Hope to see you all next time.



Kevin Munn, Assistant Training Officer SMWCRT, January 2019