CADIZ – Last fall, nine Ohio Mine Rescue teams competed in the ninth annual Ohio Mine Safety Competition held in Cadiz at the ODNR Mine Safety Training Center. Cadiz is northeast of Cambridge in Harrison County.
Mine Rescue teams are comprised of six members from each competing mine, and the teams must train a minimum of 96 hours per year. The training is conducted by the ODNR Mine Safety staff, which prepares the teams to respond to mine emergencies, such as underground fires, explosions, entrapments or roof failures. ODNR Mine Safety maintains three strategically located mine rescue stations in the state to provide and service all necessary equipment that the teams will need when responding to a mine emergency.
This year, Westmoreland Buckingham Red team received first place; the Ohio Valley Coal Company Powhatan No. 6 team received second place; and American Energy Corporation Century Mine Blue team received third place.
Mine rescue teams work problems in multiple events, such as first aid, fire hose use, breathing apparatus maintenance and team field rescue procedures, where the team works a problem in a simulated mine in under an hour. Mine safety professionals from numerous federal and state agencies serve as judges to evaluate each team’s performance. Prior to competing on the field, the teams are placed in a ‘lock-up’ situation so that when the team reaches the field to compete, one team has no advantage over another, and each team is totally unaware of the problem they are about to encounter.
The Mine Safety Training program works diligently to improve health and safety conditions at Ohio’s coal and industrial mineral mines. In an effort to reduce accidents, fatalities and mining-related illnesses, Ohio miners and contractors are trained to recognize and respond to safety and health hazards. Combining annual competitions with skills training ensures that the best safety crews are honored and that all teams participating continue to improve their rescue skills and abilities. These competitions are now a required part of Mine Rescue team certifications nationwide.
ODNR ensures a balance between wise use and protection of our natural resources for the benefit of all. Visit the ODNR website at ohiodnr.gov.