Mine rescue teams to test their emergency preparedness Aug. 13-14Media Newswire (press release) - New York,NY,USA
August 12, 2008 Twenty mine rescue teams from around the region will exhibit their disaster preparedness skills this week during the Post 5 Mine Rescue Contest at Mylan Park in Morgantown. The two-day contest will begin at 8 a.m. Wednesday ( Aug. 13 ) and continue through Thursday ( Aug. 14 ).

The competition is co-sponsored by the West Virginia University Department of Mining Extension, National Mine Rescue Association' s Post 5, Mine Safety and Health Administration District 3 and West Virginia Office of Miners' Health, Safety and Training.

The participating rescue teams represent West Virginia, Kentucky, Ohio and Pennsylvania coal companies. Individual coal companies send one or more teams to compete. "This event involves friendly competition designed to give teams a chance to demonstrate their skills," said Jim Dean, director of the Mining Extension Department, "but in actual mine accidents, of course, the teams are all about working together and support each other to help keep coal miners safe." Participants will compete in three events: mine rescue, bench and pre-shift. In the mine rescue contest, teams responding to simulated underground mine emergencies will evaluate the situations, safely explore all areas near the fresh-air base, record conditions, map areas and "rescue" surviving miners.

In the bench contest, a benchman - who leads mine rescue teams - will test a self-contained breathing apparatus worn by rescuers and correct any problems to make the device ready to take underground.

In the pre-shift contest, individuals compete to show the most proficiency in pre-shift examination of coal mines.

Rescue teams will be assigned the same emergency problem to solve, and they are judged according to their procedures and speed. The simulated emergencies may involve missing miners, explosions, mine fires, a roof collapse or a mine being flooded.