CODE OF CONDUCT
WHAT IS THE ASS CODE OF CONDUCT?
For personal safety, for the conservation of caves and for the continued privilege of enjoying these fascinating resources, organized cavers in Alberta have adopted a Code of Conduct that defines personal and collective responsibilities and standards of performance. By operating according to the Code, we have earned the trust and respect of resource companies and government agencies and enjoy solid credibility when arguing for our interests and for the welfare of the caves.
Caving Safety: Individual Responsibilities
Before entering the cave:
- Let someone at home know of your itinerary and approximate schedule.
- Select appropriate personal equipment and supplies including headlamps, head protection, protective clothing, footwear, food and basic emergency supplies.
- Know how to properly use your personal equipment.
- Check your equipment and ensure that it is in good working condition.
- Check the weather and project the (hydrological) response of the cave to adverse weather conditions.
- Consult with prior visitors about sensitive features.
- Don't go underground under the influence of alcohol, drugs, or medication that could impair your judgment or performance.
- Inform the trip leader and your companions of any personal physical or mental limitations.
- Never cave alone (groups of 3 are good; groups of 4 are preferable).
Inside the cave:
- Respect experienced advice and direction.
- Identify, recognize, and evaluate inherent caving hazards (e.g. flooding, hypothermia, fatigue, rock falls etc.)
- Don't exceed your abilities and limitations.
- Stay together.
- Don't linger at entrances or other potentially unstable zones, or vertical exposed areas (e.g. pitches, overhanging ice).
- Avoid jumping, sliding, or making unnecessary rapid maneuvers.
- Don't attempt something untried without a backup plan (e.g. backing out of a tight passage).
- Don't share your equipment.
- Avoid throwing anything into pitches (over drops).
- Be respectful of the group.
- Know the agreed-upon communication protocol (used when voice communications are impractical or impossible).
Caving Safety: Participants' Shared Responsibilities
Before entering the cave:
- Let someone on the surface know of your plans, confirm a trip itinerary beforehand.
- Know how to activate an outside cave rescue operation.
- Ensure that all collective and personal equipment is matched to the cave's difficulty (and in good working order).
- Ensure that basic emergency equipment and supplies are taken (e.g. first-aid kit, pulleys, heat source, extra rope, etc.)
- Plan the underground activity according to age, experience, skills, and physical condition.
- Have a back-up plan.
Inside the cave:
- Distribute experienced cavers to the front and back of group (and use the "buddy system" within the group).
- Progress through the cave as fast as the slowest person.
- Don't ask someone to perform something beyond their capability.
- Use fall protection for all vertical exposures.
- Recognize the symptoms of fatigue and hypothermia.
- Don't hesitate to call a halt to a "bad" trip or unsafe situations.
Cave Conservation: Everyone’s Responsibilities for Minimum Impact Caving
- Maintain good relations with landowners, First Nations, land managers and other land users.
- Be informed about and respect legislation, management plans and access policies protecting cave resources.
- Limit the size of the party to the minimum required for a safe visit.
- Use good sources of light. (Avoid using acetylene-based headlamps in confined delicate areas.)
- Don't smoke or make fires (even at the entrance).
- Stay on the established "minimum impact" route if already established, or choose the lowest impact route. .
- Never break or touch speleothems, crystalline deposits, or unique or unusual sediment formations (including flowstone and moonmilk).
- Don't enter delicate passages.
- Don't overuse sensitive caves or sensitive interior passages.
- Avoid marking surfaces needlessly.
- Don't discard anything (Remove all modern discarded objects, even if you were not responsible for putting them there! Pick up after others).
- Don't urinate or defecate inside the cave. (Carry out all human waste in the case of bivouac).
- Don't disturb bats or other living organisms.
- Avoid altering natural air or water flows.
- Improve personal technique and abilities rather than permanently modifying the cave.
- Use bolts only where safe natural or non-marking anchors cannot be used.
- Place bolts or other permanent fixtures only after thoughtful consultation with the broader caving community, particularly other persons familiar with the cave.
- Use only high-quality bolts, stainless steel, and record and document the date of installation.
- Avoid the use of explosives.
RELEASE OF LIABILITY, WAIVER OF CLAIMS,
ASSUMPTION OF RISKS AND INDEMNITY AGREEMENT
BY SIGNING THIS RELEASE AGREEMENT YOU WILL WAIVE OR GIVE UP CERTAIN LEGAL RIGHTS INCLUDING THE RIGHT TO SUE OR CLAIM COMPENSATION FOLLOWING AN ACCIDENT. PLEASE READ CAREFULLY!
As a condition of participation in Alberta Speleological Society caving activities, all registrants must read, complete and sign this liability release and return it to a designated Society official prior to involvement in any course sessions. Signatories should be prepared for all contingencies and be fully aware that this document is a release for any and all claims of any nature.
TO: The ALBERTA SPELEOLOGICAL SOCIETY, Registered Provincial Society #500054317,
and ALL OF THE OFFICERS, DIRECTORS, VOLUNTEERS, MEMBERS AND AFFILIATES OF THE ASS (hereinafter collectively referred to as “the ASS”).
In this agreement, the term "Caving Activities” shall include all activities, services and use of facilities and equipment provided by or arranged by the ASS which are in any way related to the purposes of the ASS as stated in its bylaws, constitution or organizational purpose statements, including but not limited to cave location, exploration and study, orientation and instructional sessions, hiking, climbing, and rappelling.
ASSUMPTION OF RISKS
I am aware that Caving Activities involve certain risks, dangers and hazards, including but not limited to: travel by various means, including aircraft, vehicles and on foot; steep slopes composed of rock or loose rock and dirt; tight passages and vertical drops that could delay or prevent medical assistance or evacuation from the cave in the event of an injury; vertical pits and steep walls that may contribute to falls; wet, loose or rotten rock that may result in falls or falling rock; pools, streams, waterfalls, spray and drips that may result in discomfort or cold, and may lead to hypothermia; water within the cave environment that may not be fit for consumption; breakage, malfunction or failure of equipment used in caving activities including but not limited to helmets, head lamps, climbing ropes, climbing harnesses, anchor points, and ladders; negligence on the part of other participants in the Caving Activities; and NEGLIGENCE ON THE PART OF THE ASS OR ITS MEMBERS, OFFICERS OR REPRESENTATIVES, INCLUDING THE FAILURE ON THE PART OF THE ASS OR ITS MEMBERS, OFFICERS OR REPRESENTATIVES TO TAKE REASONABLE STEPS TO SAFEGUARD OR PROTECT ME FROM THE RISKS, DANGERS AND HAZARDS OF THE ACTIVITIES.
I AM AWARE OF THE RISKS, DANGERS AND HAZARDS ASSOCIATED WITH CAVING ACTIVITIES AND I FREELY ACCEPT AND FULLY ASSUME ALL SUCH RISKS, DANGERS AND HAZARDS AND THE POSSIBILITY OF PERSONAL INJURY, DEATH, PROPERTY DAMAGE OR LOSS RESULTING THEREFROM.
RELEASE OF LIABILITY, WAIVER OF CLAIMS AND INDEMNITY AGREEMENT
In consideration of the ASS allowing me to participate in Caving Activities, and for any other good and valuable consideration, the receipt and sufficiency of which is acknowledged, I hereby agree as follows:
- TO WAIVE ANY AND ALL CLAIMS that I have or may in the future have against the ASS, and its directors, officers, members, agents, and representatives (all of whom are hereinafter collectively referred to as the "RELEASEES") and to release the RELEASEES from any and all liability for any loss, damage, expense or injury including death that I may suffer or that my next of kin may suffer as a result of my participation in Caving Activities, due to any cause whatsoever, INCLUDING NEGLIGENCE, BREACH OF CONTRACT, OR BREACH OF ANY STATUTORY OR OTHER DUTY OF CARE, (INCLUDING ANY DUTY OF CARE OWED UNDER THE OCCUPIERS LIABILITY ACT, R.S.B.C. 1979, c. 303), ON THE PART OF THE RELEASEES; AND FURTHER INCLUDING THE FAILURE ON THE PART OF THE RELEASEES TO SAFEGUARD OR PROTECT ME FROM THE RISKS, DANGERS AND HAZARDS OF CAVING ACTIVITIES REFERRED TO ABOVE;
- TO HOLD HARMLESS AND INDEMNIFY THE RELEASEES from any and all liability for any property damage or personal injury to any third party resulting from my participation in Caving Activities;
- That this Release Agreement shall be effective and binding upon my heirs, next of kin, executors, administrators, assigns and representatives, in the event of my death;
- This Release Agreement and any rights, duties and obligations as between the parties to this Release Agreement shall be governed by and interpreted solely in accordance with the laws of the Province of Alberta and no other jurisdiction; and
- Any litigation involving the parties to this Release Agreement shall be brought solely within the Province of Alberta and shall be within the exclusive jurisdiction of the Courts of the Province of Alberta. In entering into this Release Agreement I am not relying on any oral or written representations or statements made by the Releasees with respect to the safety of the Caving Activities, other than what is set forth in this Release Agreement.
I CONFIRM THAT I HAVE READ AND UNDERSTOOD THIS RELEASE AGREEMENT PRIOR TO SIGNING IT, AND I AM AWARE THAT BY SIGNING THIS AGREEMENT I AM WAIVING CERTAIN LEGAL RIGHTS WHICH I OR MY HEIRS, NEXT OF KIN, EXECUTORS, ADMINISTRATORS, ASSIGNS AND REPRESENTATIVES MAY HAVE AGAINST THE RELEASEES.
Accept for 2017