A member of the British Cave Rescue Council MCRO - a member of the British Cave Rescue Council

Training Events & Exercises, 2020-21


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Previous Training Events



Sunday, 21st November 2021 - Emmer Green, Reading, Joint Practice

A social event and evening talks at the 89th Reading Scouts (Milestone Wood) HQ on Saturday 20th November was followed by a rescue practice on Sunday 21st. In the grounds of the Scout HQ is the former Emmer Green chalk mine. This was the scene of a joint cave rescue exercise for the South East CRO, Gloucestershire Cave Rescue Group, and MCRO. Over 60 cavers from the three teams took part (including 9 members of MCRO).

The 89th Scout group mine team was also on hand to support the exercise and provide the ‘casualties’. Find out more on the report page >>

Members of the 3 teams after the practice.

Members of the 3 rescue teams, after the practice (Picture by Paul Taylor, GCRG)


Sunday, 31st October 2021

It was great to welcome five of our new team members to a proper underground practice! Clive Mine, Shropshire, provided plenty of interesting scenarios. Thanks to all our volunteers for your enthusiasm and support ... and for the keen group who washed the kit afterwards! Pictures and more information from the event are on the report page >>

Team members waiting to be deployed.

Team members waiting to be deployed during the Clive Practice. (Picture by Bartek Biela, MCRO)

BCRC Medical Weekend, 17-18th July 2021

Team First Aiders attended the Medical weekend held at the Gloucester Cave Rescue Group base in the Forest of Dean. Luckily it was a nice warm, sunny couple of days which helped as, due to COVID considerations, most of the activities were held outside.

Medical volunteers attending the event ranged from first aiders to highly experienced doctors. The weekend was all about collaboration, learning, sharing ideas and testing new equipment.

BCRC Medical weekend July 2021.

Participants in the BCRC Medical weekend. (Picture by Phil Turner, WCSAR)

Due to COVID restrictions during the early part of 2021 we held a number of online training sessions as we couldn't easily meet in person:


Friday, 16th April 2021

Rob Messenger of Staffordshire Search and Rescue Team covered the topic of working with helicopters. Touching on the iSAR requirements for working with Coastguard helicopters, he also recountered personal experiences.


Monday, 15th March 2021

Rick Stanton gave a fascinating talk on cave diving and rescue.


Monday, 22nd February 2021

Twenty-eight team members tuned in for an evening session on "Introduction to Legal issues and cave rescue" by Anthony Rich. He covered a number of important points and issues.


Online First Aid Training, 18th January 2021

Instead of our usual training session at Arco in Eccleshall, due to Lockdown restrictions it was replaced by an evening online first aid training session. Attended by over 30 team members it covered topics such as responses to SARCALL message and how to opt in and out of the call-out system. Plus the first aid requirements that team members should ideally possess, new developments in casualty care with the BCRC heated CasBag, followed by a 'test' of team members' knowledge of hypothermia signs and symptoms and discussion around the topic.

Online training January 2021.

During the session team members were briefed on developments with the BCRC heated CasBag project. You can find out more about the BCRC CasBag Project on the BCRC wwebsite


PPE Rescue Practice, 31st October 2020

Halloween is an ideal time for wearing masks, so it was appropriate that we held our PPE Rescue practice at Snailbeach on 31st. October. Eighteen team members attended, undertaking a mix of activities. To maintain social distancing the group was divided into 2 “bubbles”, with couples or those in personal support bubbles kept together.

All participants were asked to wear face masks and PPE. Safety glasses or goggles were issued according to each team members preferences. Radios were used as part of the exercise, with people being assigned a specific radio for their exclusive use during the day. Other than the radios used at control all other radios were used inside Aquapacs to allow for easy cleaning at the end of the day.

Two main activities had been organised which ran concurrently with the bubbles swapping over (after a lunch break) to ensure everyone had a chance to take part.

Radios were kept in Aquapacs for easier decontamination Working in PPE proved challenging and hot work!

The day was rounded off with an exercise devised by Graham Smith using the mobile phone app “what3words”. A number of locations around the mine site had been identified and team members were given sheets with a list of “what3words” locations. They then had to use their mobiles to navigate to, and identify the locations. While the exercise was a success and it is easy to add the app to your mobile, it was felt that grid references or latitude/longitude was more accurate.

Thanks to Shropshire Mines Trust for allowing us to make use of the site. Read a more detailed report>>


Online Training, 11th October 2020

In place of a planned rescue practice an online training session was held on Sunday 11th. There was a good turn-out and sessions on Covid requirements and the BCRC guidelines, SARCALL, and Personal kit inspection were delivered. The kit inspection lead by Bartek Biela allowed team members to brush-up their skills in identifying problems with harnesses, ropes and other items that they might use.

A selection of damaged ropes What to look for in harnesses and buckles


Introduction to PPE Rules, 21st August 2020

PPE training session.

Graham Smith wearing non-sterile gloves, face mask and foam lined safety goggles, with the packaged ‘casualty’.When Lockdown 1 restrictions were eased towards the end of the summer an evening training session was held at Tweedale Fire Station to introduce team members to the new guidelines issued by BCRC for cave rescue teams and the use of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE).

The August evening session allowed team members to experience stretcher packing and handling (using one of the Shropshire Fire service weighted ‘dummies’) while wearing PPE and practising social distancing as much as was practicable.

Despite a slight drizzle the briefing and PPE exercise was held outside in the yard. Social distancing did mean that those talking while wearing masks had to talk a little louder than normal!


Friday Evening Training Session, 13th March 2020

We had a training evening at our stores testing our use of Sarcall, and refreshing our first aid and casualty care skills. We also had a visit from a new MCRO supporter. This session proved to be the last before the first COVID-19 Lockdown was implemented on the 22nd March.

Using the Little Dragon (pre-Covid-19!) Our latest supporter - too young to join the team yet.


Gloucester Cave Rescue Group - Practice & Training, 8th March 2020

A great day of teamwork in the Forest of Dean, 10 members of MCRO attended GCRG's cave rescue practice. There was lots of stretcher handling, hauling and people called 'Dave'. An equipment inspection training session was also run to refresh GCRG and MCRO team members who's inspection 'tickets' were due to expire. Thank you GCRG for the invite.

GCRG Hauling exercise Checking an old krab on the inspection course.

Winter Training Day, 12th January, 2020

We met at Arco Professional Safety Services training centre, Eccleshall (formerly Total Access) along with colleagues from Gloucester Cave Rescue Group for our annual winter training session, making use of the excellent facilities and rope access workshop at the site.

Arco Professional Safety Services, Eccleshall.

The day started with a number of talks. Mike Clayton and Emma Porter gave an update on team requirements and our peer review which is due in April. Steve Holding gave a talk on the work that he has been doing on gas detection and the different gases encountered underground. This is part of work being undertaken by the BCRC to understand what happens when certain gases increase and others decrease.

For example, when Oxygen is depleted what (if anything) has replaced it?

Mike Clayton and Emma Porter giving the introductory talk in one of the Arco training rooms.

Steve Holding delivering his update on underground gases.

Colleagues from GCRG had brought along their Slix 50 stretcher for team members to study. Shorter than a normal Slix stretcher it is designed for use in constricted passages.

The Slix 50 stretcher 'packaged' for transport. Adding a casualty to the Short Slix ...


In the workshop area team members were introduced to the Petzl Rescucender. Ten of these have been purchased, to be added to the rigging kits. So it is important for members to become familiar with their operation and use.

The Petzl Rescucender.'Opening' a Petzl Rescucender.

The Petzl Rescucender fitted to a hauling system.