The Organisation of ICRO
The Irish Cave Rescue Organisation is a national voluntary organisation made up of active cavers throughout Ireland. It is run by an elected committee and can be called upon in the event of accidents in caves. It has rescue equipment stores at four locations in Ireland. The two main stores are at Doolin in Co. Clare and Claddagh Glen in Co. Fermanagh.
ICRO has the following organisational structure:
The Callout list
The Callout List is an annual publication of the names, addresses and telephone numbers of active cavers in Ireland who will assist in rescues. It also contains other information, including details of callout procedures, rendezvous points and Rescue Wardens. It is circulated to all known active cavers, police, government bodies, outdoor centres and to others on request from the secretary.
There are normally about 15 wardens. These are experienced cavers familiar with cave rescue techniques and procedures. They have detailed knowledge of the caves in their area and are readily contactable by phone. At the request of the Gardai or Northern Ireland police, they take responsibility for the control of callouts and the management of rescues. In addition, they assist in training and the management of rescue stores.
ICRO is administered by a committee elected annually at its Annual General Meeting and consisting of Chairman, Secretary, Treasurer, Equipment Officer and a number of committee members. It takes responsibility for fund raising, purchase of equipment, preparation of the callout list, organising training and general administration.
Liaison with other bodies
ICRO liases with a number of other bodies in Ireland and Britain.
Republic of Ireland
ICRO has representatives on the National Co-ordinating Committee for Mountain and Cave Rescue (NCCMCR) which is run by the Department of the Environment. The NCCMCR co-ordinates those bodies involved in mountain and cave rescue in the Republic of Ireland viz. the Garda, the various rescue teams, the department itself and other bodies as required. In addition, it provides a substantial grant towards training and rescue equipment held in ICRO stores in Clare, Dublin and Cork.
ICRO has representatives on the Northern Ireland Mountain Rescue Co-ordinating Committee (NIMRCC) which serves a similar purpose to the NCCMCR. The NIMRCC with ICRO has established a rescue store in Florence Court near Enniskillen on County Fermanagh.
ICRO is affiliated to the British Cave Rescue Council (BCRC) which has representatives from all cave rescue teams in both Britain and Ireland. Through the council ICRO has access to training in rescue techniques in Britain, and in extreme circumstances can call on rescue teams in Britain for specialised rescuers.
Spelological Union of Ireland (SUI)
ICRO has close links with the SUI which represents cavers in all things except rescue. ICRO has a regular column in the SUI/ICRO Newsletter which serves to notify cavers of periodic changes in rescue organisation, dangerous caves etc. Together with SUI, ICRO organises an annual caving symposium, which is usually held over the October bank holiday weekend (the last weekend in October).
Procedures are detailed on the front of the callout list which is circulated to all active SUI registered cavers. In short however, a rescue may be initiated by telephoning 112 or 999 and asking for cave rescue.