Who Are We?
Formed in 1936, and originally called the MRO (the Mendip Rescue Organization) we are the second oldest cave rescue organization in the world, with only the Cave Rescue Organisation in Yorkshire as a longer running cave rescue organisation. The Mendip Rescue Organisation was renamed to Mendip Cave Rescue (MCR) in February 2008 to better reflect our activities. One of sixteen cave rescue teams in the British Isles, we are responsible for rescues from caves and disused stone mines in the Bristol area, Somerset, Wiltshire & Dorset. Injuries, even relatively minor ones become a much more serious matter when they occur underground. Medical assessment and immediate care are complicated by the hostile cave environment - the total darkness, cold, wet and mud compound the severity of the situation. Add to this the practical problems of evacuating an immobilised casualty from a confined and arduous situation and you have a serious undertaking.
Acting on behalf of the Police, MCR are responsible for all aspects of the operation underground, from marshalling the required cavers, sourcing and deploying specialist equipment through to control and coordination of the rescue. After assessment, First Aid and stabilization the hard physical work and technical difficulties of the evacuation begin. The logistics of having the right equipment and the right number of rescuers in the right place at the right time, in safety, in an exposed, sometimes wet, sometimes claustrophobic, sometimes vertical, sometimes unstable environment, whilst continually monitoring and caring for the casualty mean that an evacuation may take many hours.
A Voluntary Organisation
We are cavers who rescue cavers whenever and wherever an accident occurs. Self-help with voluntary service is a strong and enduring ethic amongst Mendip cavers - a tradition that has kept MCR at the forefront of technical developments and techniques since its formation. Support is received from the whole of the caving community, both in terms of practical assistance and finance. Whilst acting on behalf of the Police, MCR is entirely self-financed and does not call upon Local or National Funds. MCR holds large amounts of highly specialized and sophisticated equipment, including state of the art communications equipment to enable direct communication between the surface and the incident location underground. Much of this equipment is expensive but its purchase is funded entirely by cavers who also carry out all the maintenance.
MCR 75th Celebration
The MRO/MCR 75th celebration weekend was enjoyed by cavers from across the United Kingdom along with members of the public, local Police Officers, ex Wardens, special guests and local MP Tessa Munt. People enjoyed the Friday night with videos being played in the Hunters Lodge Inn (Priddy) these were a selection of Cave Rescue related videos, many from actual rescues. The Saturday gave people a chance to hands on demonstrations of the cave rescue equipment, ranging from stretchers, communications equipment, diving rescue and rigging techniques. A climbing tower was kindly donated for use where vertical hauling techniques were demonstrated and a 'speleo olympics' assault course was setup to test the skills of the slimmer more agile cavers. The afternoon saw a rescue practice in Swildons Hole, where around 20 people assisted in a staged rescue of a caver who had fallen and sustained a fractured lower leg, this was a very successful event and the virtual casualty was safely bought to the surface in good time. The evenings events consisted of social time allowing people catchup, local MP Tessa Munt cutting a cake that Maxine Bateman kindly made along with Bob Cork giving a brief history of the MCR through its 75 years of operation. An auction was then held where items such as cave painting and artwork along with old cave signs (which have been currently replaced) were sold off with funds going to the MCR. The evening was finished off with a typical cavers Stomp and a bar serving local real ale. The weekend was a huge success and the MCR would like to thank everyone who attended, donated money and helped to run the event, this ranged from catering, manning the bar, general logistics to name but a few.