The National Cave Rescue Commission (NCRC) received its charter from the National Speleological Society in 1979, and serves as the Society’s representative on issues of cave rescue training and operations. It is a volunteer group developed primarily to train and track cave rescue resources throughout the United States. The NCRC is specifically NOT a functional cave rescue team, rather it provides training and development opportunities for persons and organizations engaged in cave rescue activities. Thus, while many of the persons associated with the NCRC perform rescues, they do this as members of their local rescue squads, civil defense units, or cave rescue groups. The NCRC is a component of the Department of the Administrative Vice-President of the National Speleological Society (NSS).

The main focus of the NCRC is development and maintenance of a national curriculum in cave rescue operations. It maintains a cadre of qualified cave rescue instructors, who help it deliver cave rescue educational programs at the national and regional levels, in a variety of formats.

The NCRC strives to maintain working relationships with organizations engaged in cave rescue, and to maintain a professional liaison on behalf of the NSS with federal, state, and local agencies possessing jurisdiction for cave emergencies. It also tracks the persons trained under its programs and maintains inventories of specialized cave rescue equipment that might be needed in the event of an emergency. These lists are available to providers of cave rescue services, and may best be utilized in pre-planning activities.


The National Cave Rescue Commission Commission is led by a Board of Regional Coordinators, representing each of the 10 NCRC regions (Caribbean, Central, Eastern, Northeastern, Pacific Northwest, Rocky Mountain, South Central, Southeastern, Southwestern, and Western). The Board also includes a Medical Coordinator, Diving Coordinator, Training Coordinator, and National Coordinator (who serves as the NCRC’s executive officer). The NCRC depends on many dedicated volunteers to carry out its assigned mission. If you would like to assist the Society through the NCRC, please contact the National Coordinator or the Regional Coordinator serving your state.


The NCRC sponsors a weeklong Cave Rescue Operations and Management Seminar each year which is held in various locations around the U.S. The seminar serves as a "boot camp" of cave rescue and involves three levels of training. Cave rescue is constantly evolving, and a wide variety of techniques are presented at each year’s seminar. The seminar emphasizes rescuer preparedness and safety, cave travel skills, understanding the cave environment, patient care and stabilization, evacuation techniques applicable to cave passage, single rope techniques for personal movement, rope rescue techniques, medical considerations, underground communications, and incident management. In addition to this national weeklong seminar the various regions also sponsor weeklong seminars, weekend Cave Rescue Orientation Courses, and other specialized training.