Rescue professionals test skills in national coal mine rescue competition

Four-day event continues tradition begun in 1911 to promote mine safety

Posted September 17, 2015

In a fire, collapse, or 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.

From September 14-17, more than 60 mine rescue teams from companies in 12 states will put their emergency skills to the test in Lexington, Kentucky at the 2015 National Coal Mine Rescue, First Aid, Bench, and Preshift Competition. Sponsored by the National Mining Association and administered by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA), the four-day competition includes team and individual competitions, as well as exhibits from companies and suppliers of coal-mining equipment and services.

The event will include the following competitions:

  • Teams must solve a hypothetical mine emergency problem, and will be rated on how well they follow mine rescue procedures and how quickly they complete specific tasks (Field contest);
  • Miners must inspect and ensure equipment such as multi-gas instruments and self-contained breathing apparatuses work properly (Bench contest);
  • First responders must demonstrate the correct method of caring for an injured miner (First-aid contest); and
  • Examiners must show proficiency in identifying potential hazards before the start of a hypothetical shift (Preshift contest).

The mining industry held its first mine rescue competitions in 1911. The inaugural event took place in Pittsburgh with President William H. Taft among the dignitaries in attendance.

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