A team from Carlsbad, N.M., beat out 35 teams from 16 states nationwide to finish first at the 2016 National Metal and Nonmetal Mine Rescue Contest in Reno, Nev.
This year’s winner, the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant’s “Blue Team,” held off second-place finisher, Vulcan Materials’ “Blue Team” from Bartlett, Ill., and Newmont Mining’s “Carlin Team” from Carlin, Nev., which rounded out the top three at the four-day event held in Reno, July 25-28.
Co-hosted by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Mine Safety and Health Administration and the Nevada Mining Association, mine rescue competitions gauge the readiness of teams and their individual members – sharpening skills and testing their knowledge in a series of simulated emergency scenarios, such as a mine fire, explosion or roof collapse.
“We ask mine rescue teams to respond to some of our nation’s most difficult emergency situations,” said Joseph A. Main, assistant secretary of labor for mine safety and health. “We owe them the best training, equipment and support to help teams of specially trained first responders operate effectively in a real mine emergency.”
Main noted that MSHA has devoted considerable attention to developing new mine emergency response systems with the latest mine rescue communications and tracking systems, as well as mapping and atmospheric monitoring equipment, to improve and streamline communications between the surface command centers and underground mine rescue teams. The agency has located these systems at four mine emergency operations sites in Madisonville, Ky.; Pittsburgh; Price, Utah; and Beckley, W.Va.
At the 2016 event, Newmont Mining Corp.'s “Carlin Team” from Elko, Nev., finished in first place in the first-aid competition. Top honors also went to Doe Run Co.’s “Gray Team” from Viburnum, Mo.; and Barrick Gold’s “Turquoise Ridge Regulators” from Golconda, Nev., in the technician team competitions; and Morton Salt’s “Team Texas” from Grand Saline, Texas, in the team trainer competition. Newmont Mining’s “Carlin Team” finished first in overall standings.
In the field competition, five-member teams are required to search and account for all missing miners following standard mine rescue procedures. The two-man technician team must ensure that multi-gas and self-contained breathing apparatuses are in proper working condition. In the first-aid competition, teams must be prepared to deal with medical emergency techniques, such as cardiopulmonary resuscitation and control of bleeding, as well as the treatment of physical shock, wounds, burns and musculoskeletal injuries. The team trainer test consists of multiple-choice and true-false questions.