GOPR – Górskie Ochotnicze Pogotowie Ratunkowe

The Mountain Volunteer Search and Rescue (Polish: Górskie Ochotnicze Pogotowie Ratunkowe – GOPR) is both volunteer and professional non-profit registered association in Poland, saving people’s lives in Polish mountainous terrain and preventing accidents as well as protecting wildlife. GOPR is divided into seven Groups operating in the south of Poland, one for every major mountain range in Poland. The headquarters of GOPR are situated in Zakopane.

GOPR was oficially established in 1952. In 1991, one of the Groups – TOPR became an independent organization and withdrew from GOPR.

At present there are 813 volunteers and 113 professionals in GOPR.

On the terrain covered by GOPR, its rescuers perform various rescue missions which include:

  • search and rescue in remote areas
  • cable car, chairlift and tree evacuation
  • ground evacuation
  • cave rescue
  • air rescue in cooperation with air ambulance
  • avalanche rescue
  • White water rescue
  • ski patrols

GOPR Cave Rescue Commission (Polish: Podkomisja Ratownictwa Jaskiniowego – PRJ) consists of one or two members from the seven Groups and a leader who work together preparing cave rescue training programmes, analysing cave accidents, forming cave rescue procedures and performing other duties.

There are about 50 rescuers in total in the seven groups who specialise in cave rescue in limestone, sandstone and old mines. They undergo regular training.

Each Group has a depot (rescue station) which, among other equipment, is equipped with suitable cave rescue gear.

There are about five to ten cave rescue interventions every year ranging from minor to deaths