CAVRA Service Materials



  1. About Us
  2. Events
  3. Radio Procedure
  4. Cliff Rescue Drill
  5. Communication Equipment


  1. Conservation and Access
  2. Navigation with Map and Compass

III.  First Aid

  1. Priorities
  2. Resuscitation, plus
  3. Bleeding, Shock
  4. Casualty Examination, plus
  5. Effects of Heat and Cold
  6. Medical Conditions
  7. Self-Assessment: Multiple Choice Test

IV.  College

  1. The Local Coast
  2. Tides


1. About Us (Draft 2)

M I S S I O N :

The Cardiff and Vale Rescue Association (CAVRA) is a voluntary search and rescue organisation, operating within the City of Cardiff and the Vale of Glamorgan. We are a registered charity, and our purpose is to provide back-up personnel to the official Emergency Services in a range of situations, including in particular searches for missing persons, and support at public events and during times of adverse weather conditions, natural disaster or civil emergency.

V I S I O N :

We aim to provide teams of volunteers who have the required skills, experience and local knowledge, as well as the necessary equipment and communications facilities, to be able to be of genuine assistance to the official Emergency Services.

We will provide this service at any time of the day or night, without charge, in any situation where one of the official Emergency Services or other approved organisation decides that their efforts would benefit from the kind of support that we can offer.

O R G A N I S A T I O N :

We are organised in two teams, one based in Sully, the other at Atlantic College, that train regularly throughout our area of operation, using a range of possible scenarios.

Being a 'service of second response', we would expect to be called out by one of the official Emergency Services or other approved organisation , who would in the first place contact one of our duty officers. A set of procedures is in place for teams to be alerted by pagers.

Individual members are qualified in first aid, trained in using our own CAVRA radio communications system, experienced in working as team members or leaders in searches in a variety of terrains, and in many cases have specialised skills, like working on steep ground or a medical background. Moreover, all the permanent members have undergone checks by the Criminal Records Bureau.

While on a call-out or on duty, as well as on training sessions, members are recognisable by their overalls and marked protective clothing, and will also carry cards identifying them as members of the team.


2. Events

Sun 25 Apr 0414.15 - 17.15Exercise: urban-terrain search and rescue, AC team (JJ, KG) and Sully team – Whitchurch (M4, J32)
Sun 25 Jan 0414.45 - 17.00Exercise: search and rescue, AC team (KA, ATB) and Sully team, possibly with police presence – Rhoose Point
Thu 22 Jan 0412.00Second CAVRA radio system, based at Atlantic College, becomes operational (funded by the Nationwide Foundation)
Fri 16 Jan 0412.00Visit of John Smith MP to CAVRA Station, Atlantic College
Sun 11 Jan 0414.30 - 17.30Exercise: search, AC team (KG, ATB) and Sully team, with dogs – St Donats
Sun 30 Nov 0313.30 - 17.30Training: cliff activities, comms, AC team and Sully team – St Donats
Thu 30 Oct 0311.00 - 12.40Planning Meeting: agree procedures etc. – St Donats
Sun 19 Oct 0309.00 - 17.00First Aid cover at small event (JJ) – Celtic Manor
[event cancelled by organisers]
Sat 04 Oct 0313.00 - 17.00First Aid cover at small event (KA) – Celtic Manor
Wed 24 Sep 0319.00 - 21.30Exercise: search and first aid, half of AC team (DB) and other members, with dogs – Cosmeston Lake, Penarth
Mon 08 Sep 0308.00AC CAVRA unit becomes operational
Tue 02 Sep 0314.00 - 18.00Exercise: search and evacuation, other half of AC team (JJ, KA) – Porthkerry Park
Mon 18 Aug 0314.00 - 18.00Exercise: search, half of AC team (DB, KG) – Rhoose Point

Visit of John Smith MP to the CAVRA Station, Atlantic College, on 16 Jan 04. John Smith had been very supportive of the application for funding from the Nationwide Foundation.


3. Radio Procedure

(This section is in need of updating, to our present role in CAVRA: many of the examples go back to when the College was a CG Station.)

  1. Callsigns :
  2. Every station which goes on the air to transmit must have a callsign. By means of these callsigns it must be possible to identify the sender and the intended receiver of every transmission. The following callsigns are the standard ones at our station; (they are followed by suggested logging abbreviations): Other callsigns, for instance for the teams in a search, are assigned by the person in charge, before they are used on the air. As far as possible they should consist of the name of the station and a letter as spoken in the phonetic alphabet (see below;) except that Delta, by convention throughout the country, is always used as the callsign of the District Controller of each area, and Lima is that of the Auxiliary in Charge, (Dave Cope in our case.) Suitable callsigns might be If one has been called by another station but is unsure of its callsign, one may wait until called again, or say something like: The station calling should then call again and identify themselves clearly.

  3. The Phonetic Alphabet, Using Figures :
  4. The phonetic alphabet is used to spell difficult words, names, etc. in the text of a message, esp. when communication is difficult:
    Between words New Word is said.
    Punctuation marks, which should only be used when their omission might cause confusion, are read as follows:
    ,Comma    /Slant(Open Brackets
    .Stop-Hyphen)Close Brackets
    For the sake of clarity, figures are spoken as follows:
    1Wun5Five8 Ate
    2Too6Six9 Niner
    Numbers are always transmitted digit by digit, e.g. ''15'' is spoken as One Five, not as ''Fifteeen''.
            Bearings are always given in three digits, e.g. due East is Bearing Zero Niner Zero Degrees. True bearings (-- i.e. in our area: the magnetic bearing minus 4 degrees --) are always used unless otherwise stated. Decimal points are spoken as Decimal, except that the word Point is used, when positions or other navigational data are transmitted.
            Callsigns, grid-references, (which may need to include the sheet number of the 1:50000 Ordnance Survey, when working with a helicopter,) and times transmitted in a text should be preceded by Callsign, Grid or Time; other uses of figures should be preceded by the word Figures to avoid confusion; e.g.

  5. Radio Channels :
  6. Channel:Use:
    0Ordinary day-to-day CG frequency for communication between CG stations, mobiles and so on. Not to be used between fixed stations except in emergencies and for radio checks.
    6First choice inter-ship frequency. CG may intervene in SAR (''Search and Rescue'') incidents stating that a message will be coming on channel 16.
    10CG oil pollution frequency.
    16Distress, safety and calling frequency, ship-to-ship and ship-to-shore.
    (37)Frequency used by ILBs on training. Not on our radios.
    67First alternative to channel 0. SAR frequency between CG, aircraft and ships. Used by yachts and CG on safety. Not to be used between fixed stations.
    73Second alternative to channel 0. MOD (''Ministry of Defence'') -frequency. SAR frequency between CG, aircraft and ships. Not to be used between fixed stations.
    00Monitored by the CG.
    land-lineTelephone, often preferable between fixed stations. At Southerndown and Ogmore, the 999-phones can be used to communicate with Swansea CG if necessary.

    Call-outs generally start on Channel 0, but if it is very busy we may be asked to switch to another channel, either 67 or 73. Channel 73 can sometimes be used on exercises, by arrangement with Swansea Caostguard.

  7. Pro-Words :
  8. For the sake of brevity and accuracy, especially when communication is difficult, there are certain standard words, phrases and abbreviations which should be used as far as possible. (It is also helpful to speak slowly and without excitement.) The most important of these pro-words are listed here, together with their logging abbreviations and their meanings (-- in the illustrations, single letters represent callsigns):

    This Is ...DEThis transmision is from the station whose callsign immediately follows.
    CallsignC/SThe group that follows is a callsign.
    Over.KThis is the end of my transmission and a reply is necessary.
    Roger.RI have received your last transmission satisfactorily.
    Out.AR or +  End of transmission; no reply required.
      P, This is S. Over. --
      S, This is P. Over. --
      This is S. On exercise at Nash Point. Approximate duration: two hours. We shall be listening on channel Zero. Over. --
      This is P. Roger. Out.
    • The sender must identify himself at the beginning of every transmission, but when no confusion is possible, the callsign of the addressee may be omitted.
    • Every transmission must terminate in Over or Out, but never both, of course.
    • "Roger that," although often used by the operators at Swansea, is not proper radio procedure.
    Radiocheck.How do you hear me, i.e. how are my signal strength and readablity?
      T, This is E. Radiocheck. Over. --
      E, This is T. Read you Loud and Clear. Over. --
      This is E. You are Loud but Distorted. Out.
    • The pro-words used to report signal strength are: Loud, Good, Weak, Very Weak and Fading.
    • The pro-words used to report readability are: Clear, Readable, Unreadable, Distorted, With Interference and Intermittent.
    • When just a radiocheck is required, it is not necessary for the two stations to establish contact first.
    Nothing Heard.NH I have not received any reply to my transmission.
      F, This is S. Over. --
      F, This is S. Over. --
      F, This is S. Nothing Heard. Out.
    • Only after the communication has thus been concluded can another station use that channel, perhaps in this case to relay a message from S to F.
    Wait.ASI must pause for a few seconds.
    Wait. Out.AS+I must pause, for longer than just a few seconds.
      ... --
      W, This is J. Request the Grid Reference of your position. Over. --
      J, This is W. Wait. --
      This is W. Our position is Grid Nine One Seven Six Eight Two. Over. --
    Relay To ...RYTTransmit this message to the station whose callsign immediately follows.
    From ...FMI pass this message from the station whose callsign immediately follows, or from the originator specified.
    Wilco.WILCOI have received your message and will comply with your instructions.
    Copied.CPDYour message, or a specified previous one, has been received.
      J, This is D. Over. --
      D, This is J. Over. --
      This is D. Relay To O: Request his present position. Over. --
      This is J. Wilco. Out.

      O, This is J. Over. --
      J, This is O. Over. --
      This is J. From D: Request your present position. Over. --
      This is O. Relay To D: Our present position is Nash Point. Over. --
      This is J. Roger. Out.

      D, This is J. Over. --
      This is D. Copied that last transmission from O. Over. --
      This is J. Roger. Out.

    • It is "Relay to ...," but just: "From ...," and not: "Relay from ..."
    Read BackRBRepeat this entire transmission, or the portion indicated, back to me exactly as received.
    I Read BackIRBThe following is my response to your instruction to read back.
    Say AgainSARepeat the last transmission, or the portion indicated.
    I Say AgainISAI am repeating the transmission, or the portion indicated.
      ... --
      S, This is N. We have reached the casualty for exercise. Our position is Nash Point. Over. --
      N, This is S. Say Again your position. Over. --
      This is N. I Say Again: our position is Nash Point. Over. --
    • On an exercise one should always speak of a ''casualty for exercise'', so that any station listening does not think it is a casualty for real.
    SpellSPSpell phonetically the word, name or phrase indicated.
    I SpellISPI shall spell phonetically the word, name or phrase indicated.
      ... --
      G, This is S. Our position is Nash Point. Over. --
      S, This is G. Spell your position. Over. --
      This is S. I Spell Nash Point: November Alpha Sierra Hotel New Word Papa Oscar India November Tango. Nash Point. Over. --
      This is G. Roger. Out.
    • If the operator can pronounce the word(s) to be spelt, he will do so before and after the spelling to identify the word(s).
    • The operator may choose to spell a difficult word without having been requested to do so.
    • It is bad procedure to finish with something like "I spelt Nash Point," as some people have started to do.
    VerifyVYVerify the entire message, or the portion indicated, with the originator, and send correct version. (Presumably in response to From, when relaying.)
    I VerifyIVY That which follows has been verified at your request and is repeated.
    All AfterAAAll after.
    All BeforeABAll before.
    Correct. or
    CYou are correct. Yes.
    Correction.CCNAn error has been made in this transmission. Transmission will continue with the last word correctly transmitted.
    Disregard This
    Transmission. Out.
    DISR+This transmission has been made in error, cancel and disregard it.
    E.T.A.ETAEstimated time of arrival.
    Restrict.I have company, e.g. a relative of the casualty, and therefore cannot speak and/or receive freely.
    Sit Rep.Situation Report.
    Speak Slower.SSLYour transmission is at too fast a speed.
    Word AfterWAWord after.
    Word BeforeWBWord before.
    Words Twice.WDTCommunication is difficult. Transmit (or transmitting) each phrase twice.
    Wrong.WGYour last transmission was incorrect. The correct version is ... . (Presumably in response to I Read Back.)
    Certain pro-words are reserved for use in the most serious emergencies:
    Mayday. Help. This is an emergency.
    (From a ship, on channel 16. Any station receiving this signal should carefully note any information that may follow, and pass it to the local SAR centre, and also keep listening and be ready to help with communication. Apparently from French: m'aidez. = help me.)
    Silence. or
    Silence Distress.
    Request that all other communication on the channel stops, to allow for emergency working.
    (Silence should be pronounced in French.)

  9. Radio Logging :
  10. All radio traffic on the channels that we might use on a call-out is monitored and recorded on tape at Swansea Coastguard. However, for various reasons we try to keep accurate radio-logs ourselves: to be able to check details immediately after˙a transmission, to record transmissions that may not be received by Swansea Coastguard, and to have a record of the basis on which decisions were taken. Moreover, after a call-out the staff-member in charge has to write it up in the log-book in the station, and for the details of times etc. makes use of the radio-log. Note that only transmissions relevant to our casualty need to be written down.
            It is therefore standard procedure on any call-out that one or two students remain at LL.M. Coastguard to keep a radio-log, (as well as to take care of communication within the College, using the internal and external telephones: e.g. if a call-out runs over a meal, to call the Caterer and check that a number of meals are being kept.) The radio-operator in the call-out vehicle should also attempt to keep a log of all transmissions made and received.
            Another important task of the students who stay behind on the radio is to make sure that there is an accurate list of every person who has gone out on the call-out, and to make sure that everyone signs themselves back in on that list when they have returned.

    Below is an example of a radio-log. Note that when logging on the appropriate forms, there is no need to record the initial exchange to establish contact, such as

    (-- provided that contact is established.)
            Also note that the way of recording the stations identifying themselves at the beginning of each transmission is simply to enter their callsigns in the appropriate columns before the actual message.

    17.15SW CGLLM MobLeaving Station. Proceeding to Ogmore. K
     LLM MobSW CGR. What is your ETA? K
     SW CGLLM MobOur ETA at Ogmore Beach is 14 minutes. K
     LLM MobSW CGSA your ETA at Ogmore. K
     SW CGLLM MobISA our ETA is 14 minutes. K
     LLM MobSW CGR +
    17.30SW CGLLM MobHave arrived at Ogmore SLSA and met with Police. Search party LLM B commencing search towards Southerndown. K
     LLM MobSW CGR. Do the police have more details of the casualty? K
     SW CGLLM MobNO. K
     LLM MobSW CGR +
    17.55LLM BLLM MobRequest SIT REP. K
     LLM MobLLM BPresent position 1 km east of Ogmore Beach. Search so far is negative. K
     LLM BLLM MobR +
    18.10LLM MobSW CGFM Police Headquarters. The casualty has returned home on their own. Recall search party and return to Station. K
     SW CGLLM MobR +
     LLM MobLLM BCPD last transmission. ETA at Ogmore SLSA 15 minutes. K
     LLM BLLM MobR +
    19.10SW CGLLM MobDeparting Ogmore with LLM B and returning to Station. K
     LLM MobSW CGR. Call landline with details when you are back. K
     SW CGLLM MobR +


4. Cliff Rescue Drill

(This is a summary of a basic drill for lowering or hauling a casualty on a cliff or steep incline. The drill is 'light-weight' and flexible, and should be considered a basic pattern, to be adapted to particular circumstances.)

The principle is that a Rescuer abseils to take a rescue strop on a rope to the casualty, who can then either be lowered to the bottom or hauled to the top.

1.   One person will usually have been designated as the Number 1, before arrival on scene. Their responsibilities are
  1. to coordinate the set-up,
  2. to check anyone that goes near or over the edge,
  3. to operate near the edge (so they must be properly secured themselves,)
  4. to communicate between cliff-face and cliff-top; whistle signals should be used as much as possible, with a shout of "Slack" only for clarification:
    1. one blow (= "Stop") for the casualty rope to be held tight, pulling to stop,
    2. two blows (= "Up") to request the casualty rope to be pulled up,
    3. three blows (= "Down") to request the casualty rope to be released.
2.  The first jobs that need to be assigned are
  1. to attach the Rescuer's rope to two anchors, such as two stakes hammered into the ground,
  2. to go down as Rescuer: that person needs to get themselves ready with descendeur and jumars,
  1. to set up the casualty end of the casualty rope and get the equipment the Rescuer needs to take:
    1. one sling with two krabs,
    2. one long tri-colored sling,
    3. the Kimstrop attached with an alpine butterfly to the casualty rope, with a clogger and a krab further down, and a single figure-of-8 at the end of the rope,
    4. (if there is no First-Aider:) a first-aid kit and a helmet for the casualty,
  1. to attach the Number 1's own rope to two anchors: the Number 1 can then attach themselves to that rope (with the minimum of extra-rope!) to be able to operate near the edge, after having been checked by someone else,
  1. to secure the casualty rope to two anchors:
    1. through a descendeur in the back (the 'brakes') and
    2. the 'dogs' further forward: the little strings should hold the 'tails' together, not go around the casualty rope,
    each typically attached with a krab in a doubled tape-sling; if on a stake, the sling should have a clove-hitch, to prevent it slipping off.

    The point where the casualty rope will go over the edge and the two anchors, for the dogs and the brakes, should all be one line.

Another rope can be set up, on two separate anchors, for a First-Aider to go down, with a tape sling with two krabs, and a first-aid kit and a helmet for the casualty.

  1. The Rescuer having put on his own equipment, and himself on his rope ready for descending, he then also puts on the equipment, in the opposite order to that in which it will be needed. The Kimstrop should be around his body, and the clogger attached to his belt, both with the krabs open.

    After having been checked by Number 1, and whistled "Down", he can then descend. From this time on, two people need to operate the dogs, holding them open by pushing back the tails, and the brakes.

  1. If the casualty is to be hauled to the top: either before or shortly after the Rescuer starts his descend,
    1. the quadpod needs to be placed over the casualty rope, its legs extended and connected by the chain underneath the casualty rope;
    2. the casualty rope runs over a pulley on two krabs attached to the rim at the top of the quadpod, (the ring in the middle should only be used for a vertical haul;)
    3. the quadpod must also be attached by a lose rope to any anchor further back, to avoid any possibility of it falling over the edge.
    Note that Number 1 should be the only person working near the edge of the cliff!
4.  Upon reaching the casualty, the Rescuer
  1. If the casualty can be lowered:
  1. If the casualty has to be hauled to the top:


5. Communication Equipment

  1. Radios
  2. A talk-through station is installed on one of the towers of St Donats Castle, and we operate the following six units (- the funding for the equipment was provided by the Nationwide Foundation):

    two base units, with display and keypad in the Station"CAVRA Atlantic" mains power supply
    in a College mini-bus"CAVRA Mobile" vehicle electrics: may have to leave the engine running during operations, must be switched off when leaving vehicle
    one Icom F3GS handheld, with display and keypad "CAVRA Zulu" all the portable units should be charged overnight
    three Icom F12 handheld call-signs will be assigned, but must begin with the word "CAVRA"

    The channels programmed into the radios have been assigned particular uses:

    Leckwith Wide Area System:
    calling channel
    covers Cardiff, Barry, Penarth etc and will work along the M4 to J37 (Pyle) along to J18(Bath) and North to Merthyr Tydfil.
    Atlantic College Wide Area System:
    calling channel
    for use around the Vale of Glamorgan, West of the airport.
    3, 4
    [bb1, bb2]
    back-to-back channels:
    alternatives to channels 1 and 2
    local: can be used anywhere in the UK, but might be used by other parties.
    5, 6, 7, 8, 9
    [bb3, ...]
    back-to-back channels:
    'private use'

    (Note: the units with a display do not show the channel numbers but the text shown in brackets below the channel numbers.)

  3. Pager Operation
  4. From Ivor: "As far as call-outs are concerned, the way we envisage the system working is that the Police (or other emergency service) will page us on Group 1, of which you are already members, The duty officer, who is normally Ian or myself will respond, but this could be any of the following: Ivor, Ian, Russ, Richard, Kai or Dave. Having contacted the emergency service initiating the call, the duty officer will then page the rest of the team on Group 2 giving details of where to go, together with any other relevant info. -- Hope that clarifies the situation."
    The two CAVRA pagers we have are on the mmO2 network and should now respond everywhere on the Campus.

    The pagers have four buttons: Left, Rght, RDot, Dash, and a screen to display information.

    switching On press Dash:
    the pager will sound, the present time and date will be displayed.
    cancel an alert press Dash
    (the pager will keep sounding until the alert is cancelled).
    switch on backlight press RDot for 2 seconds,
    (it will go off automatically).
    open menu press RDot:
    symbols for different options are displayed in the bottom line, the active option is described in the top line, move between options by using the Left and Rght buttons.
    Options: Auto On/Off, Set Alert, Set Time, Set Alarm, Silent Mode (Audible Mode), Turn Off, Lock, Delete (a message), Delete All.
    select a menu option press RDot again;
    for some options, you are asked to confirm your choice: to confirm, press RDot again.
    close the menu,
    cancel an option
    press Dash.
    stored messages press Dash:
    the stored messages are represented by small arrows at the top, the latest on the right, unread messages flashing;
    move between messages by using Left and Rght.
    read a message to select a message:  press Dash;
    to read the next line:  keep pressing Dash,
    (each message ends with the time and date it was received.)

    Sample messages: