Cave Safety

Disclaimer: Caving is an inherently hazardous activity, with bruises and twisted ankles being common injuries. Broken bones, concussions, entrapment, disabling injuries, and deaths have been known to occur during caving trips. This information is not a substitute for instruction, experience, or personal responsibility.

Caving can be physically and emotionally stressful and demanding . It is important that you are prepared, fit, properly equipped, sober, and healthy.

Learning More about Cave Safety

Are you properly equipped? Check out our recommended equipment list

Do you know the basics when it comes to caving techniques? Check out the NSS Techniques Page

Want more information on caving techniques? The National Cave Rescue Commission (NCRC) “Orientation to Cave Rescue” course is highly recommended for every caver – many of the techniques taught will make you a better all-around caver. The Eastern Region of the NCRC schedules the OCR courses in our area – check out their schedule at Eastern Region of the NCRC.

Think you know it all? Download the NSS “Guide to Responsible Caving” from the NSS Brochures Page.

Do you know First Aid and CPR? What would you do if one of your caving team members fractures their ulna? Wilderness First Aid courses teach you how to handle “first aid” in remote outdoors situations (like caves). WFA courses are two days long and are offered multiple weekends throughout the year in nearby locations. Contact SOLO for schedules and more information. Wilderness First Responder and Wilderness EMT courses are available for those who desire in-depth training.

Do you want to be a trip leader? Strong caving skills and experience are a necessity! For all the basics about being a trip leader, check out the Philly Grotto Trip Leaders Handbook.

Want to be an even better trip leader? Experience and skill in leading and manageing the interpersonal dynamics of “wilderness” trips is a big help! The Appalachian Mountan Club (AMC) offers weekend and week-long trip leadership courses. The AMC Delaware Valley Chapter runs the weekend course annually, and the AMC Leadership Training Institute runs the weeklong course.

Cave Rescue training is also recommended for every trip leader. The National Cave Rescue Commission offers their weeklong “Level 1” course annually, with the training locations rotated throughout the country each year. The Eastern Region of the NCRC (ER-NCRC) offers the same “Level 1” course closer to home once or twice a year. The ER-NCRC also offers the course in a choice of “weeklong” or “modular” (over three weekends).


You are probably thinking, “What could possibly go wrong?”  You may also be wondering “What will happen when my Emergency Contact calls 911?” and “Who will answer the call?”

If you would like to learn more about CAVE RESCUE in the Eastern Region (MAR/VAR) visit the Eastern Region, National Cave Rescue Commission web page at

Eastern Region of the National Cave Rescue Commission


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