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  1. #1
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    Unhappy Firefighters turned away at Wva Mine.CNN reports

    CNN reports that the Logan Wva fire department arrived on the scene in Melville within four minutes and was denied access to the mine fire by mine officals.They waited hours for a mine rescue team to arrive.The chief fire officer on scene also goes on to state that when the mine rescue team arrived they did not have firefighting protective equipment.He felt his firefighters were better prepared and ready to go.

    Mine Rescue
    Team Member Requirements
    In West Virginia, an applicant for initial mine rescue training shall have been employed underground for a total of one year or more within the three preceding years. The applicant must undergo a physical examination by a licensed physician within thirty days prior to initial training. Initial training consists of a 31 hour course of instruction that thoroughly acquaints the applicant with the use, care and maintenance of the apparatus that will be used. The applicant must pass a practical examination at the conclusion of training. The applicant must also possess a current first-aid training certificate. Upon completion of initial training, each mine rescue team member must receive at least forty hours of refresher training annually, which can be administered four hours every month or eight hours every two months. If the type of breathing apparatus used is changed, each team member must receive an additional eight hours of training in the use, care and maintenance of the new apparatus.

    It appears to me the local fire service could be crossed trained to Mine rescue standards.If a local fire department has mine operations on going within there response area.Then why not cross train that department with the mine safety team.To shut them out is bad business and **** poor PR for the mine company.
    Last edited by coldfront; 01-23-2006 at 09:20 PM.
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    If the FD did not have the appropriate training and equipment, then they did not belong in the mind. It sucks to have to stand there, but mine rescue is dangerous enough when you have the correct training and equipment.
    On that level though, it would be wise if the mining companies would help train and equip the local responders since they can be there much faster generally than a specialized team.

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    Besides - if it's a vollie FD, chances are they have members who are miners.

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    Zoot's right. Kind of like a FD showing up at a haz mat without the proper training and equipment.

    But that said, it sure seems like a good idea to use the FD's as the foundation of any new mine rescue teams that will spring up.

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    Thumbs down How Did That Happen?............

    How do you turn away a Fire Department arriving at an Emergency scene. Try that in Maryland and you're going to jail for impeding the Fire Department in the Course of their lawful duties. We've done it. Having said that, I agree that proper training and proper protective gear is an absolute must in mine rescue. Fire departments (generally) lack things like extended duration SCBA, NOMEX coveralls, Etc. that make up a Mine Rescue Team's normal equipment. Anyone who remembers the Pennsylvania Mine Rescue a few years ago, Fire department involvement in that one was quite noticeable, and continued all the way to the successful ending. However, Firefighters in Bunker Gear didn't rush into the mine, they did all kinds of support work, which was a big help to the Mine Rescue Crews.
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    Quote Originally Posted by hwoods
    How do you turn away a Fire Department arriving at an Emergency scene. Try that in Maryland and you're going to jail for impeding the Fire Department in the Course of their lawful duties. We've done it. Having said that, I agree that proper training and proper protective gear is an absolute must in mine rescue. Fire departments (generally) lack things like extended duration SCBA, NOMEX coveralls, Etc. that make up a Mine Rescue Team's normal equipment. Anyone who remembers the Pennsylvania Mine Rescue a few years ago, Fire department involvement in that one was quite noticeable, and continued all the way to the successful ending. However, Firefighters in Bunker Gear didn't rush into the mine, they did all kinds of support work, which was a big help to the Mine Rescue Crews.
    I was thinking the same thing....there is no such thing as refusing entry to a fire department...the only time you might see it is at a Federal installation as in a FAA building or something. But Civilians? Never heard of that...what are thier state statutes?

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    Quote Originally Posted by coldfront
    In West Virginia, an applicant for initial mine rescue training shall have been employed underground for a total of one year or more within the three preceding years.
    That part of the requirement alone makes it tough to cross-train the fire department. I don't know about turning the fire department away completely, but the fire department needs to realize they are support personnel and they are not there to run the scene. The mine rescue teams and trained and qualified to handle the task at hand, so we must allow them to run the show.

    Quote Originally Posted by Mean15
    Besides - if it's a vollie FD, chances are they have members who are miners.
    I also agree with that statement. Typically, volunteer departments consist of more blue collar workers than white collar workers. Maybe there will be enough members to meet the requirements for a FD mine rescue team, but again, we are a support unit to their team.

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    Never heard of that...what are thier state statutes?

    I'm wondering if it may even be higher at the Federal level (Mine Safety Act?) -- don't have the time research it though.

    Remember, before they started tying federal grants to NIIMS...the only thing that required "ICS" training for most departments were the federal Hazardous Materials response laws. So you can see quirky regulations with unexpected authority.

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    Post CNN Transcript interview Wva Fire Chief

    ZAHN: So, try to imagine the pain and frustration of knowing trapped miners are fighting for their lives, but you're not even allowed to help them.

    That's the situation Chief -- Fire Chief Scott Beckett and his fire crew found themselves in. Beckett's team, from Logan, West Virginia, was first on the scene after the explosion in the Melville mine. But federal rules kept them from taking a leading role in that rescue. It wasn't until more than three hours later that rescue teams actually went in to fight that fire.

    And the chief believes precious time may have been lost. Chief Beckett joins me now.

    Good of you to join us, sir. Thanks so much for being with us.

    SCOTT BECKETT, LOGAN, WEST VIRGINIA, FIRE CHIEF: Thank you.

    ZAHN: So, we understand, chief, you were on the scene within four minutes of getting the call. Who told you that you couldn't fight the fire?

    BECKETT: One of the officials in the mine actually told us that the MSHA had issued some sort of federal regulation papers that prohibited us from actually going in and fighting the fire. ZAHN: What was your reaction when you heard that? You were ready to go. You had all of the equipment in place to fight this fire.

    BECKETT: Yes, ma'am.

    We had all of the equipment ready to go to fight the fire, especially when the mine rescue teams -- their equipment is designed strictly for rescue, not for firefighting. So, I knew that they didn't have the -- the necessary equipment to put the fire out.

    ZAHN: You had this...

    BECKETT: And it was just -- it was just a total shock.

    ZAHN: You had to sit and wait for almost three-and-a-half-hours, until those mine rescue teams went in. What was it like to stand there, knowing that very precious time was being completely blown?

    BECKETT: It was -- it was just a frustrating situation all the way around, to try to tell 20 men who are competent and well trained that -- that they're not being allowed to do their job. And it was just a tough situation.

    ZAHN: What would have happened to you, if you had decided to go against the feds and used your instincts and said, you know what, we got -- we're here; we can't waste any more time; we're going in?

    BECKETT: We were told of -- there were rumors and we were being told that we would be arrested. There was even talk of federal prison time if we violated these orders. So -- and that's a pretty stout punishment. And that's what we were looking at, as far as I -- as far as I know.

    ZAHN: What do you think would have happened if you had been able to go in there as soon as you arrived on the scene?

    BECKETT: Well, we would have definitely been able to do something with the fire.

    It would not have grown to the size that it had grown to, if we were allowed to go in and -- and initiate an aggressive initial attack, which is what needed to be done. Just like any -- any routine fire that we fight, if you don't hit it hard and fast, it is going to get out of control and grow larger, and, then, it becomes a -- you know, a lengthy process.

    ZAHN: Well, Scott Beckett, we really appreciate your time tonight. Thank you for sharing your story with us.

    And, as we mentioned, West Virginia lawmakers have just today approved new regulations designed to quickly locate trapped miners, good news for Governor Joe Manchin, who proposed the new law. He has seen first-hand the damage inflicted on mine families over just the last three weeks alone.

    He also lost a member of his family to a mine accident in 1968.

    And Governor Manchin joins us now.

    Thank you very much for being with us.

    I don't know whether you could hear Chief Beckett just now...

    GOV. JOE MANCHIN (D), WEST VIRGINIA: Yes.

    ZAHN: ... describe his shock about having his well-trained fire cruise on the scene within four minutes of getting the call and then being told by the feds, he couldn't fight the fire. Is there any excuse for that?

    MANCHIN: Paula, I really don't know the procedures as far as the trained rescue teams, and how that coincides with the volunteer fire -- or, I mean, with the paid fire department there at Logan. I really don't. And I'm not here to say any of the things that could or could not have been done.

    I know we cannot bring back the 14 brave miners we have lost in 13 weeks. I know one thing, that we can keep the promise that I made to all of those families who lost these brave men. And we did that today, starting today, just a commonsense procedure.

    We're going to find out why we can't have a better response. And response, rapid response, is part of this legislation, along with electronic tracking and additional oxygen stations throughout the working mine.

    ZAHN: But let me just ask you this. Do you think that -- that any well-trained fire team should face potential federal arrest, which was the rumor going around on the scene, if they have to sit around and -- and wait for crews to assemble for three hours, when they could be fighting the fire themselves?

    MANCHIN: Well, you're talking about a mine. And a coal mine is much different than other types of fires, I'm told.

    And, in that coal mine, it is a whole different array of things they must go through and the training that they go through. I think the only people that can answer that is the people that are responsible for certifying mine rescue teams, and if they're able to -- to co-train, if you will, fire teams. This is the first time I have ever heard of a fire department that thought that they were trained or maybe have been trained and nobody else knew about it.

    I'm not doubting that they couldn't have done it. And I can't give you any reason or excuse where why, if they were well trained, were not allowed to proceed.

    ZAHN: Governor...

    MANCHIN: I don't know. But we are going to find out.

    ZAHN: ... finally tonight, how much empathy do you have for the position of many family members, who are -- are saying to us in interviews over and over again, why did so many people have to die, and, if they hadn't died, maybe we never would have seen legislation like you got passed today? Do you understand that?

    MANCHIN: Oh, I can't -- I can't -- I'm not here to -- to tell you why human nature works in the way it does or the timeliness of it.

    I was with those families for over 90 hours in both the Sago and the Aracoma Mine. I was with them praying, hugging, crying. The strength of these families, trying to pull people together, going through the ups and downs and going through the same scenario -- "Do you think they're alive? Do you think they had enough air?"

    I have been through this. There is nothing more gut-wrenching than what I have endured. And no family member of any miner should have to go through this. That's my promise. I can only tell you, there is no one that feels it any harder than I feel it. And there is no one that was more committed than I am to make the changes.

    We will have the safest mines in this country. The safest mines in the world will start right here in West Virginia. That's my commitment. Today was a start, historic start, passing major legislation in one day, suspending rules, bipartisan effort.

    ZAHN: Governor Joe Manchin, we really appreciate your joining us, after this historic vote, a vote that happened...

    MANCHIN: Thank you, Paula.

    ZAHN: ... rather quickly, by legislative standards. Again, appreciate your time.
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    Exclamation

    I am reading this and wondering...

    How many of Chief Beckett's firefighters would have been killed in an attempt to fight this fire? They may be trained in fighting fire, but fighting a fire underground is an entirely differebnt animal.

    It's not like going down into a basement or subcellar.... which is scary enough... it's going hundreds of feet underground and then possibly stretching thousands of feet of hoseline with no guarantee that you will reach the area of the fire, let alone the trapped miners.
    Last edited by CaptainGonzo; 01-24-2006 at 03:44 PM. Reason: spelling error
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    I actually did a fire outside of Centralia, PA today and was thinking about something as I passed the most famous mine fire of them all.

    What do you think the UMW position on volunteers being trained in mine fire fighting and rescue techniques?

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    Quote Originally Posted by GeorgeWendtCFI
    I actually did a fire outside of Centralia, PA today and was thinking about something as I passed the most famous mine fire of them all.

    What do you think the UMW position on volunteers being trained in mine fire fighting and rescue techniques?
    I googled this... interesting....

    The ruins of Centralia Pennsylvania no longer exists on some maps. The story began sometime in 1962 along the outskirts of town when trash was burned in the pit of an abandoned strip mine, which connected to a coal vein running near the surface. The burning trash caught the exposed vein of coal on fire. The fire was reported and thought to be extinguished but it apparently wasn't. The coal then began to burn underground. That was in 1962. For the next two decades, workers battled the fire, flushing the mines with water, excavating the burning material, backfilling, drilling again and again in an attempt to put the fire out or at least contain it. All efforts failed to do either. By the early 1980s the fire had affected about nearly 200 acres. An engineering study concluded in 1983 that the fire could burn for another century or even more and "could conceivably spread over an area of approximately 3,700 acres."


    Here is the link with pics...

    http://www.offroaders.com/album/centralia/centralia.htm
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    Quote Originally Posted by CaptainGonzo
    I am reading this and wondering...

    How many of Chief Beckett's firefighters would have been killed in an attempt to fight this fire? They may be trained in fighting fire, but fighting a fire underground is an entirely differebnt aninal.

    It's not like going down into a basement or subcellar.... which is scary enough... it's going hundreds of feet underground and then possibly stretching thousands of feet of hoseline with no guarantee that you will reach the area of the fire, let alone the trapped miners.
    That is a fair question however the local fire resources should not be overlooked as a resource.Why not cross train some firefighters that serve mine operations in mine rescue.If you followed the sago mine accident it appears from the news conferences they were not even sure who was in command.Mine rescue is a different world than structure firefighting.So is Haz Mat response,Trench and Confine space and swift water however the fire service is taking the lead in those areas.We could also ask the question how many miners could have been saved in melville if Chief Beckett firefighters could have attacked the fire!Maybe the outcome would not have changed at least in this case no other lives were lost.It appears the mine safety teams could cross train some firefighters in mine rescue to support there operations.
    Last edited by coldfront; 01-24-2006 at 04:04 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by coldfront
    That is a fair question however the local fire resources should not be overlooked as a resource.Why not cross train some firefighters that serve mine operations in mine rescue.If you followed the sago mine accident it appears from the news conferences that were held that they were not even sure who was in command.Mine rescue is a different world than structure firefighting.We should also ask the question how many miners could have been saved in melville if Chief Beckett firefighters could have attacked the fire!
    While it is true that you could cross train firefighters in mine rescue, how many would be needed to effectively pull it off? It's not a 2 in, 2 out situation we are talking about here.

    My FD has been trained in confined space and trench rescue ops. We have been activated a couple of times in the mutual aid capacity to neighboring towns.. one for a trench collapse, the other for a structural collapse as a result of a natural gas explosion. In both cases, we had to do a dapartmentwide recall for manpower to cover the reserve apparatus and send additional personnel to the scene. ConSpace and trench ops are manpower intensive, so I can just imagine how many people are requirted to effectively pull off a mine rescue.

    I sincerely believe that if Chief Beckett sent his personnel into the mine to fight the fire, it would be a repeat of the the fate of the Texas City FD in the SS Grandcamp incident... the entire department was killed there in 1947.
    ‎"The education of a firefighter and the continued education of a firefighter is what makes "real" firefighters. Continuous skill development is the core of progressive firefighting. We learn by doing and doing it again and again, both on the training ground and the fireground."
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    Quote Originally Posted by CaptainGonzo
    While it is true that you could cross train firefighters in mine rescue, how many would be needed to effectively pull it off? It's not a 2 in, 2 out situation we are talking about here.

    My FD has been trained in confined space and trench rescue ops. We have been activated a couple of times in the mutual aid capacity to neighboring towns.. one for a trench collapse, the other for a structural collapse as a result of a natural gas explosion. In both cases, we had to do a dapartmentwide recall for manpower to cover the reserve apparatus and send additional personnel to the scene. ConSpace and trench ops are manpower intensive, so I can just imagine how many people are requirted to effectively pull off a mine rescue.

    I sincerely believe that if Chief Beckett sent his personnel into the mine to fight the fire, it would be a repeat of the the fate of the Texas City FD in the SS Grandcamp incident... the entire department was killed there in 1947.
    I would not compare the fire service training and or equipment available in 1947 to the 2006!If you do the changes would be massive!I not for a paid/volunteer fire department running lone ranger on a mine fire / rescue.I do think there is a role to play in mine rescue operations for a Crossed TRAINED Fire department.What if those miners had been near the opening just out of sight of co-workers.Just something to think about!
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    Brother Coldfront..

    We can "what if" this to death.

    1947.... 2006... firefighters are still dying. A lack of knowledge about ammonium nitrate... a lack of knowledge about mine firefighting and rescue... to me, there is no difference here.

    It's a risk vs. benefit scenario

    In the Worcester Cold Storage Fire, District Chief Mike McNamee had to make a decision that he knew would be the most difficult of his life. He knew that he had already lost 6 Brothers, and had the potential for losing a lot more Brothers more had he allowed the firefighters under his command to enter the inferno.

    I know Mike as well has his former aide. He still lives with that decision every day.
    Last edited by CaptainGonzo; 01-24-2006 at 06:54 PM.
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    This thread makes me think of a video I watched about 10 years ago while taking a water rescue class. The video was of a fire department in upstate NY attempting to rescue a couple of people that went over a low head dam. The first fire department rescue boat went in, got too close to the hydralic and flipped, trapping the "rescuers" in the hydralic. The second boat went in, this time from the top and got sucked over, got caught in the hydralic and flipped, again trapping the "recuers". This "rescue" cost 3 or 4 rescuers thier lives, plus the orginal 2 victims. This department which had little training in the quirks of low head dams and the resulting hydralics and marginal water rescue equipment, because they knew how to handle boats on open water, that they could just go in and pluck these folks up. Somehow the LFD's attempt to go underground reminds me of this incident.

    I am not doubting thier firefighting abilities, but a structural department attemtping to operate in a mine shaft is sorta like this group of firefighters attempting to operate at a low head dam incident with open water w/r training. We need to do what we are trained and equipped to do ... and not attempt to bite off more than we can chew just because we are firefighters. I am sure we have all seen this ... departments getting envolved in operations they have no business attempting. It's a good thing they were stopped, or else this incident could have ended with even more fatalities.

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    Quote Originally Posted by CaptainGonzo
    Brother Coldfront..

    We can "what if" this to death.

    1947.... 2006... firefighters are still dying. A lack of knowledge about ammonium nitrate... a lack of knowledge about mine firefighting and rescue... to me, there is no difference here.

    It's a risk vs. benefit scenario

    In the Worcester Cold Storage Fire, District Chief Mike McNamee had to make a decision that he knew would be the most difficult of his life. He knew that he had already lost 6 Brothers, and had the potential for losing a lot more Brothers more had he allowed the firefighters under his command to enter the inferno.

    I know Mike as well has his former aide. He still lives with that decision every day.
    Every call is different.Risk vs gain needs to be part of every scene size-up.This may have been the right call to make.The local fire company may of bit off more than they could chew IF THAN WERE NOT TRAINED!Why not cross train those firefighters to mine rescue standards to support Mine rescue teams.The mine industry needs to look at there system.Three hours is just to long.I agree that some of the best decisions you will ever make, is not to take any action.That could save more lives that attempting a failed rescue to recover bodies.All Iam asking out loud is this.Mine Rescue Teams should look to the local fire departments for support.Team up with firefighters and bring then on board.The department involved apparenty was willing to add mine rescue/firefighting to there mission!The role may be support only.What role does the local fire department play.When is it a mine rescue event not a local issue.If this had been a miner suffering a cardiac arrest due to a heart attack or a crush injury due to a isolated trauma event would the mine officals allowed first responder under ground to provide care.I have more questions than answers.My grandfather worked in a Northeastern Kentucky clay mine until retirement.His pension check was shameful.At the time of his retirement ligments in his hand were stiff which left is hands deformed.The job is not for the weak and rescue team must /should meet the highest standards.We should have a quicker response by mine rescue teams along some type of cross training for firefighters,this would enhance the safety all all miners.LETS NEVER HOWEVER BITE OFF MORE THAN WE CAN CHEW!

    NIOSH Publication No. 2006-105 2005

    Fire Response Preparedness for Underground Mines

    This report deals with the preparedness of miners to respond to underground fires. It is intended to aid the mining industry in understanding the various roles of emergency responders and the training techniques used to increase their skill levels. The report also presents a technology overview to assist in effective response to mine fires.
    Last edited by coldfront; 01-25-2006 at 04:25 AM.
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    Post Mine Rescue and Emergency Response Info.

    Mine Rescue and Emergency Response
    Mine operators often rely on mine rescue teams to save miners during an underground emergency such as a fire, explosion, roof fall, or water inundation. In 2005, there were approximately 230 company- and State-sponsored mine rescue teams in the United States.

    Rescue team members often place their life in jeopardy to save fellow miners. It is essential that mine rescue team members be well trained, physically fit, provided with the latest in personal protective equipment, and fully understand the hazards that may await them during rescue and recovery operations. Mine rescue teams train regularly several times per year to practice rescue missions under realistic conditions. Mine rescue teams approach dangerous conditions in mines by careful and methodical exploration. They use self-contained breathing apparatus to protect themselves in toxic atmospheres. Team members are also trained to render emergency medical care.

    As the teams explore the mine, they examine the atmosphere, mine roof conditions and all other potential hazards. They may have to re-establish essential ventilation controls to enable the team to proceed deeper into the mine. All progress and findings of the rescue team are communicated to the command center in charge of emergency management at the mine
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    Default Missouri Fire Department trained in Mine Rescue!

    MINE RESCUE TRAINING

    Description of the Issue:

    Mine Rescue is an integral part of underground mining. As long as there are underground mines in the state there will be a need for comprehensive training in mine rescue and mine rescue techniques. The South Central District Manager of the Mine Safety and Health Administration has issued the order that the underground mines in the Kansas City, Missouri area will comply with Part 49, Mine Rescue Training and will provide the proper mine rescue capability to the miners in the area. We have begun to train the underground mines in the area. This will be an ongoing effort.

    We will see an increase in the requests for Mine Rescue Training in FY 1998. We are not sure as to the amount of increase this will be.

    There is a great need for Mine Rescue due to the underground storage facilities located at and around the mines in the Kansas City area. The mines themselves need the capability for obvious reasons, but the people who work in the underground storage facilities and factories are at risk due to fire and possible inundation. Continuation of and possible expansion of this program is a necessity. We also have a customer base of seven mine rescue teams we train on a regular basis.

    Proposed Solution:

    Continuation of the present program.

    FY 1997 has been a very interesting year for Mine Rescue Training. We have Worked from the Dallas District Office recommendation to train the St. Louis City Fire Department in Mine Rescue. We have completed six sessions and the Fire Department has responded well. There is a tunneling operation being conducted in the St. Louis Metro area which satisfies the need for mine rescue capability in the city of St. Louis. The Metro Link rail system and the Metropolitan Sewer District has the main responsibility for the protection and rescue capability for trapped employees and passengers. The Fire Department wants to be able to compete in the Rolla Mine Rescue Contest to be held in October.

    Goal:

    We will train the miner in the required subjects that will provide him or her the knowledge and ability to perform the duties of a mine rescue team member.

    Objective:

    Provide training that will enable the miner to aid in the rescue and recovery of trapped miners or those miners caught in an emergency situation.

    Outline:


    Introduction to Mine Rescue. (20 hours) This training will comply with the course of instruction as prescribed by MSHA's Office of Educational Policy and Development
    The use, care and maintenance of the type of breathing apparatus used at the mine.
    Wearing and use of the breathing apparatus used at the mine.
    Use and care of the mine rescue equipment found at the mine.
    Mine map and ventilation procedures at the mine.
    Training from the MSHA Mine Rescue Modules
    Surface Organization 2201
    Mine Gases 2202
    Mine Ventilation 2203
    Exploration 2204
    Fires, Firefighting and Explosions 2205
    Rescue of Survivors and Recovery of Bodies 2206
    Mine Recovery 2207
    Work from the Mine Rescue Activity Book 2208
    Layout and run through of practice problems.
    Judge and critique of practice problem run through.
    Consultation

    Time:

    Discussions will cause the time devoted to each segment to fluctuate. Each topic will be presented with the type of mining procedure used and availability of equipment taken into consideration.

    20 hours will be devoted to the introduction to mine rescue.
    40 hours of refresher units will be held annually. Four hours per month or eight hours bi-annually
    Four hours training under oxygen and underground will be conducted semi-annually.
    Always a day late and a dollar short!

    Hillbilly Irish!

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