mine rescue competitionSixty-five mine rescue teams from companies in 12 states put their emergency skills to the test this week in Lexington, Ky., at the 2015 National Coal Mine Rescue, First Aid, Bench and Preshift Competition.

(Pictured: A member of a mine rescue team attends to an “injured” miner.)

Sponsored by the National Mining Association and administered by the Mine Safety and Health Administration, the four-day competition included team and individual competitions, as well as exhibits from companies and suppliers of coal-mining equipment and services.

In the aftermath of a mine fire, roof collapse or catastrophic explosion, teams of highly skilled men and women have the tough job of searching for coal miners trapped or injured hundreds of feet underground. Amid the dangers, these well-trained first-responders are critical to saving lives.