Former STC Chair, Aaron J. Byrd (2011-13), worked on a joint research project, with the help of the Occupational Safety and Health Program of Oakland University in Michigan. The purpose of this research was to explore best-practice approaches for educating people about caves and their associated hazards.
This project explored the following areas believed to be critical for safe and conscientious cave exploration:
1) To determine the incidence (how often) of close-call events that could have resulted in injuries or fatalities, but didn't;
2) To find out the perceptions of the value of formal, curriculum-based cave-skills training; and
3) To gather feedback in the form of impressions and experiences from current and former cave-skills training instructors.
Findings from the study will be shared through peer-reviewed publications, training workshops and informational briefs.
Benefits of this project include identification of key training and education learning objectives to help train and inform cavers about specific cave-related hazards.
Thank you for your participation.
Aaron J. Bird
2011-2013 Safety and Techniques Committee Chair
Close Calls in Caving
Based on anonymous responses from participants, a database of cave-related "close-call" events will be established in order to identify the most prevalent likelihoods of illnesses, injuries and fatalities that may occur from visiting caves.
This information will be used in caver education and cave exploration planning in order to help cavers avoid conditions and acts that may lead to undesired events.
For the purposes of this research, "close call" will be defined as an event (planned or unplanned) that happens in a cave that could have resulted in injury or fatality, but did not.
Perceptions of Cave Skills Training
The questionnaire intended to measure the perceived value of formal cave-skills training according to factors including experience level, demographic information and personal beliefs as measured by the Health Belief Model. Again, the results will be kept confidential by the researchers. Furthermore, no IP addresses or no personal identifiers will be collected by the researchers.
Impressions of Cave-skills Training from Caving Experts
This portion of the project involves obtaining impressions and experiences from current and former cave-skills training instructors through interviews. These interviews will have a series of specific questions through email, recorded phone conversations or face to face recoreded (audio) interviews.
Please contact Aaron Bird at: email@example.com, if you are interested in the findings.
The National Speleological Society
2813 Cave Avenue
Huntsville, AL 35810-4431 USA