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Winners announced in national mine rescue competition

"A special breed of people"

Mine rescue competition
Mine rescue team members employ medical emergency techniques during the first-aid competition.

Doe Run Co.’s “Maroon Team” from Viburnum, Missouri, won the 2014 National Metal and Nonmetal Mine Rescue Contest held Aug. 4-7 in Lexington, Kentucky. FMC Minerals’ “Red Team” from Green River, Wyoming, and the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant’s “WIPP Red Team” from Carlsbad, New Mexico, rounded out the top three. The competition was hosted by Central Kentucky Mine Rescue Association, Kentucky Crushed Stone Association Inc., and Carmeuse Lime & Stone. The Mine Safety & Health Administration (MSHA)  provided the field, written and technical problems, as well as judging to determine the team winners.

In the first-aid competition, Newmont Mining Corp.’s “Carlin Team” from Elko, Nevada, finished in first place. Top honors also went to OCI Wyoming LLC’s “Blue Team” from Green River, Wyoming, in the technician team competition; and Vulcan Materials Co.’s “Vulcan Blue Team” of Bartlett, Illinois, in the team trainer competition. The “WIPP Red Team” finished first in overall standings.

Fire, explosion, roof collapse

Mine rescue teams may be called upon to rescue trapped, injured or missing miners in the event of a mine emergency, such as a fire, explosion or roof collapse. Rescue contests provide a venue for teams to hone their skills in a competitive environment.

In January 2010, rescue teams successfully extracted three miners from a lead zinc mine in Bunker, Missouri, after a truck fire broke out. The miners became trapped when their escape route was hindered by the 30-ton haulage vehicle. Six members of Doe Run Co.’s mine rescue team entered the mine from the surface through a 60-inch-diameter, 580-foot-deep ventilation shaft. With the aid of a rescue escape hoist, the miners were safely transported to the surface.

A moment's notice

“Mine rescuers are truly a special breed of people,” said Joseph A. Main, assistant secretary of labor for mine safety and health.” These brave, selfless individuals are called up at a moment’s notice to travel miles underground, often in extreme conditions. We owe them our gratitude and support, and the best training available for these high-risk missions.”

Forty-one teams from 18 states participated in the four-day event. In the field competition, five-member teams are required to search and account for all missing miners following standard mine rescue procedures. The two-man technician team must ensure that multi-gas and self-contained breathing apparatuses are in proper working condition. In the first-aid competition, teams must be prepared to deal with medical emergency techniques, such as cardiopulmonary resuscitation and control of bleeding, as well as the treatment of physical shock, wounds, burns and musculoskeletal injuries. The team trainer test consists of multiple-choice and true-false questions.

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