Wilderness / Remote & Cave Rescue: Level 1
This 7-day and 7 night course will challenge and thrill you while learning rescue skills in the depths of the jungles of Central America. Based out of the Sibun River Training Base and located in the off of the Hummingbird Highway, participants will spend each day learning and training in the caves, rivers, jungles and underground rivers that surround the Base.
Designed by Education and Training Director Bruce Hagen for the jungle and cave guides of Belize, the focus is on providing rescue in the caves and wilderness with a minimum of equipment and resources. Participants will train with local Belizean jungle guides and soldiers from Caves Branch and other districts of Belize. A portion of your tuition is set aside to support the jungle guides who are attending the course.
No prior caving or rescue skills are necessary to participate in this Level 1 course. Upon successful completion of the course the participant will be well versed in the equipment, knots, rigging, anchors and anchor systems, hauling and lowering systems, mechanical advantage, rappelling, SRT, litter management, patient packaging, incident management and many other skills and techniques necessary for rescue in a remote or challenging environment. Because of the remote nature of this course there is a strong emphasis on improvisational skills and ‘making do’.
The training will include several scenarios in the rivers, jungles and caves of Belize. Scenarios will include rescues in the jungle; cave passages, river caves, underground lakes and deep underground pits. The last scenario is a full day and evening exercise, often requiring 16-20 hours to complete. The skills learned in this course are applicable to any wilderness setting and are not just specific to caves.
Our classes are skills and scenario based. Every scenario is different, and the Instructors will often add new locations and new twists to each scenario. One day you may be deep in a river cavern, building rescue systems in deep pools of water, and the next day you may be riding a horse through the jungle with your team, performing horseback based SAR operations.
Each day will begin with a hearty breakfast, followed by lecture and demonstration. The class will then move to the jungle or cave location for practice and training. Each day of training will build upon previous skills, with the complexity and difficulty of the exercises increasing daily. We break for lunch on location, and continue training until it is time to return to the lodge for dinner. After a full course dinner we will gather around the tables for coffee and participants will review and practice the various skills. The haunting cry of the howler monkeys and other nocturnal sounds of the jungle will provide a memorable backdrop for late night tales of adventure.
The Sibun River Base is the site of the rescue and medical courses. The camp is Expedition Style, with wall tents and cots, perched on the edge of Croc Lagoon. The classroom and dining area is a vaulted thatch palapa on the edge of the lagoon with a spectacular view surrounded by limestone karst towers and cliffs. Students will bunk in the tents, and the lagoon or bucket outdoor showers provide a welcome opportunity to scrub off the day’s accumulation of sweat. At the end of the day most students spend time writing in their journals, practicing knots and other skills or enjoying a cool beverage in the 'Colonel Fawcett Headhunter Bar" open jungle bar that is on the edge of camp. Lighting is torches and kerosene lanterns, and the overall feel of the camp is that of expeditions from the late 1800’s.
Meals are all you can eat tasty and traditional Belizean fare, and served family style.
During the course the participant will demonstrate to the instructor competence in over 4 pages of skills. Each skill will be signed off by an instructor. Upon successful completion of the course the participant will receive a Certificate of Completion, a copy of the signed Skills Checklist, a signed Course Outline and Belize Cave and Wilderness Rescue Team T-shirt. Only members of the team and those who successfully complete the course wear the Rescue T-shirt. No t-shirts are ever given or sold except to those who have earned the right to wear one. Outstanding participants will be accepted as members of the Belize Cave and Wilderness Rescue Team and will be placed on a response list for extended operations.
Awarding of Certificates and T-shirts, and the legendary ‘Final Scenario Night Party’, follows the Final Scenario. Reggae and Dance music will compete with the jungle for this one night.
Upon completion of the course participants may choose to stay on in Belize. The Caves Branch district of Belize has many ceremonial caves and Maya archaeological sites. After the course we may go horseback riding in the jungle, explore a newly discovered cavern, take a trip to the coast or dance the night away in a reggae bar.
Course dates: January 7-15, 2014-(FULL)
March 23-30, 2014 (Full).
July 16-23, 2014.
Sept 3-19, 2014
Tuition: $1395.00 + Tax.
Covers tuition, lodging, meals, and transportation during the course, supplies, study materials, CE and t-shirt. Does not cover sodas, alcohol or snacks. A portion of your tuition is set aside to support low or no cost training to Belizean students.
The fees do not cover airfare or transportation to the Sibun River base.
This course is a minimum of 120 hours of lectures, workshops, skills and scenarios and takes place in a truly unique and challenging environment. Class size is limited, and spaces usually fill 4-6 months early. 48 Hours of CE is awarded for this class.
* You will be required to purchase your own headlamp, batteries, gloves, lifejacket for use during the class. All other equipment is provided.
Many participants have had no prior rescue training. Most are adventurous souls with a passion for the unusual or the unknown. The majority of all participants from the U.S and other countries have been adventurers who wish to expand their horizons and be challenged in a truly unique and rare environment. Students have attended this course from a variety of backgrounds including paramedics, remote duty medic and contractors, EMT’s, firefighters, river guides, rangers, police and SWAT officers, mountain and cave rescuers as well as people who are looking for an opportunity to ‘push the envelope’.