NSS-CDS Training Program

First Responder


“Feces occur.” No matter what your level of experience, as a cave diver you may be among the first on the scene of an incident involving a lost diver or a fatality.

The good news is, in most parts of the cave diving world, there are dedicated teams who do the actual body recoveries. The authorities may ask you to take part in the search for a missing diver; however, in the case of a fatality, it’s unlikely you will need to perform any part of the extraction.

This doesn’t mean there aren’t you can do to help. Trained First Responders can:

  • Help secure and manage the scene
  • Interface with law enforcement (who are ultimately in charge)
  • Begin the data-collection process
  • Help prevent untrained individuals from making matters worse.

The First Responder course was developed in cooperation with the International Underwater Cave Rescue and Recovery (IUCRR) group. It teaches you to be the person who can help perform these vital tasks. It’s an important part of the instructor development process and included in the Advanced Cave Diver course.


  • Be at least 18
  • Hold full Cave Diver certification or equivalent from a widely recognized diver training organization


Typically takes the better part of a day.

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Course Standards

Form These are the standards instructors must follow when teaching this course. It includes information on student and instructor prerequisites, course content, skill requirements and limits of training.