9th European Cave Rescue Meeting, 2015, Mecsek Háza, Orfű, Hungary

The 9th European Cave Rescue Meeting was held in Mecsek Háza, Orfű, Hungary between 2 and 4 October, 2015. The aim of this year meeting were two specific topics which were not under scope of attention. Those topics were underground hostels / bivouacs and problem of bad (foul) air. 35 participants arrived from 9 countries. They listened to 14 lectures on the aforementioned topics.

„Hostels” mean resting places or bivouacs for rescuers during large and long time cave rescue operations. Tired cave rescuer is potential risk to himself. Those hostels can save a significant time and power of rescuers since they do not have to climb out and descend again.

„Bivouacs” are for injured person. The first team which will be sent in cave rescue operation is team for basic assessment of victim. Several rescuers will find injured person, assess the situation and status of injured person, location in cave, prospective for transport, does injured person need transport and sent information to surface. This team will set suitable bivouac or ”hot place”, where is possible to provide first aid, detail examination, medical care and give transport teams precious time to set line for evacuating of stretchers. Attached to this team is always team which will establish communication between bivouacs and surface.

„Bad air” is important problem in some caves. Cave can be polluted by toxic cases as carbon monoxide or methane, or there can be reduced level of oxygen naturally since they are use as rubbish dump. The third possibility is that in cave is normal air but cavers using explosive or petrol engine polluted air a cause foul air. In all cases is problem for rescuer how to perform rescue operation since they are also endangered. Participants discussed how to provide first aid, how to protect themselves, made evacuation or maybe improve air conditions.

Besides them Italian rescuers presented digital data transmission via telephone, unshielded twisted pair. There were not only a presentation but a demonstration in Abaliget cave which did communication between surface and „hot spot”.

At the General Assembly (GA) of European Cave Rescue Association (ECRA) first of all we adapted the statutes to the legislative changes that had taken place in the meantime. GA approved new members from Austria, Germany and Bosnia and Herzegovina. The GA discussed the collaboration possibilities with EU projects in future.

The meeting once again provided a good opportunity to get to know and exchange experiences, and further strengthened the opportunities for cooperation through the deepening of personal relationships.