Fellow Cavers, Hopefully you have just read over LET SOMEONE KNOW BEFORE YOU GO and looked at the 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 when the Regional Coordinator starts calling Caver Resources for a search and rescue mission in the cave that you are lost or injured in?” The best way to find out is to take a weekend long Orientation to Cave Rescue (OCR) class. Information on upcoming classes may be found at or by contacting the Regional Coordinator at If you would like to receive periodic emails on upcoming classes and exercises please join the open Google Group, Information on Eastern Region-NCRC Cave rescues take a lot of people to be successful, both above and below ground. If you are interested in helping out, in any way, please contact the Regional Coordinator at

Summary of how cave rescue is designed to work in Western PA:

The NSS's National Cave Rescue Commission has a National Coordinator and is organized into Regions. Pittsburgh is in the Eastern Region, thus ER,NCRC; Tony Smith(, cell 1-540-280-0755) is the ER,NCRC Regional Coordinator. The Eastern Region is further broken into Sub-Regions; Pittsburgh is in the Western PA (WPA) Sub-Region. The Sub-Region Coordinator for WPA is Chris Hill(, Primary phone 1-724-238-1835 or cell 724-771-2578); his assistant is Doug Fulton of Loyalhanna Grotto. Grotto callout lists and updates should be sent to them for consolidation.

To facilitate a rapid response to any underground emergency Allegheny Mountain Rescue Group (AMRG) (pronounced "A merg"); call Allegheny County 911, state you have a cave-related incident, and request they activate AMRG. AMRG will get the call, dispatch a quick response team, (yes there are cavers in AMRG with cave rescue training) and initiate an Alert call to the SRC to get a caver callout started. John Rogowski is the Operations Officer for AMRG and liaison with Chris and Doug.

AMRG has a sister group in Morgantown, Mountaineer Area Rescue Group (MARG), both are groups within the Appalachian Search and Rescue Conference (ASRC). MARG also has cavers who make up another quick response team. Doug Moore is the SRC for northwestern WV and is a member of MARG. Some MARG members are closer to the Laurel Caverns area than AMRG members and many PG members.


As you know, caving is a specialized activity, requiring distinctive skills and equipment. For this reason, an injury or illness incurred in-cave can easily tax the limits of the average "rescue squad". A typical caver can be of great assistance during a rescue, on a variety of levels. Obviously, search, rescue and medical personnel are front line. But support personnel without formal training are needed as well in every capacity from setting up tents to shuttling vehicles to manning phones and much, much more.

The Pittsburgh Grotto, in conjunction with other Grottos and organizations, is revising its cave rescue callout list.
Please consider including yourself on this list and return the printable form to the address noted.

Caver Information Sheet

Rescuer Alert Form

Rescue Request Information Sheet

Rescue Coordinator Information Sheet

Rescue Coordinator Dispatch Sheet


Eastern Region of the National Cave Rescue Commission
NSS Caving Safety & Techniques Page


Laurel Caverns Rescue: April 26, 2003
Orientation to Cave Rescue class: October 2006, Laurel Caverns