American Cave Accidents

I’ve mentioned in the past that I teach cave rescue and I work with some great people.  This week I received the biannual American Cave Accidents report that the NSS puts out. (I’ll mention I’m friends with the editor and several of the folks who helped advise on this issue.)

This report in theory covers all reported cave accidents in the last 2 years in the US (and sometimes Canada and Mexico and other parts of the Americas.) In reality, anyone who is familiar with caving knows it misses some.

As I was reading today, I noticed in  several of the reports, the names of several people that I recognized; most are fellow instructors, or at the very least students.

Now, one could apply correlation is causation and determine that perhaps the presence of NCRC trained people causes caving accidents.  Thankfully I’m pretty sure that’s not true. But it got me thinking, “Why does it seem such a high proportion of the accident reports involve people I know?”  I certainly do NOT know that many cavers.

Then it dawned on me: these people are perhaps far more likely to actually submit accident reports. I know of at least two accidents where the people involved did NOT want to report.  Why? Because they thought either it was a bit embarrassing or because they didn’t think there was anything to learn from their experience.

I posit those who go through the NCRC training realize more than many others the value of sharing their experiences and that it is perhaps it is worth risking a little embarrassment (and to be honest there never really is any embarrassment in my opinion) if others can learn from their experiences.

I happened to be talking to another friend of mine tonight who is also in the EMS field and he also brought up as a separate discussion how much value there was in shared knowledge like this and how some folks don’t like to do so.

The more you can broaden your horizons and experiences you can hear about and share in your field of expertise will make you a better person in that field.

Take the time to share your mistakes and your success. Share your unusual stories, you never know when someone else can benefit from them.

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