In what the U.S. Department of Labor is calling the largest gathering of its kind, more than 100 mine rescue teams from around the country competed last week in the 2011 National Mine Rescue, First Aid, Bench and Preshift Competition in Columbus, Ohio. The four-day event, which capped off the contests with an awards banquet, also represented the 100th anniversary of mine rescue competitions in the United States.
Simulations tested participants in skill areas like administering first aid to and safely transporting injured miners, and their ability to restore functionality to breathing apparatuses worn during mine rescue operations.
A mock mine emergency, sponsored by the Mine Safety and Health Administration, was designed to test the skills of underground first responders as they raced against time — skills that will serve them well should a real mine disaster occur.
Ginny, a dutch Shepherd, is being trained by Alpha Natural Resources as the first service dog to search for and rescue miners underground.
(Photos from U.S. Department of Labor.)