There is quite a bit of overlap between caving and canyoneering. The environment can be almost identical when dealing with slot canyons in Utah. Even though it technically is a canyon, there is no going “up” in the sense of “up the canyon wall.” The roof of the canyon is too tight. Hence one must ascend or descend the canyon. In essence it becomes a cave. Rescues in this environment always begin with the people at hand.
If they have the requisite skills, they may be able to save the person in jeopardy without outside assistance despite operating in very difficult terrain. People who previously did not know each other may find themselves suddenly thrust together to effect the rescue of the canyoneer. Depending on the particulars of that situation, waiting for an official search and rescue team might cause the victim’s demise. Arguably all canyoneers should have some rescue training. Certainly we all can benefit from such training.
One of the best sources for search and rescue training is the National Cave Rescue Commission (NCRC). It’s parent organization is the National Speleological Society. Every year they put on a national training. There may be regional trainings as well. The instructors are all volunteers. They are not paid. To become an instructor involved participation in many courses over at least four years. Individuals granted instructor-ship periodically must re-certify in those skills. The fees for the course primarily pay for food and cover administrative costs. They choose sites where participants can camp for free with access to hot showers. The trainings are held over the course of a week. They hold very long power-packed days. Instruction is held in a mix between classroom, above ground and below ground locations. The event culminates with a day long mock rescue mission.
Please consider attending NCRC in 2013. Your canyoneering skills will be enhanced. Plus it is great fun! It is the best bang for the buck of any rescue course in the US. More information can be found at NCRC Training.