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The Daily Register - Harrisburg, IL
  • Mine rescue teams going for the gold

  • Mine rescue teams and mine firefighters train diligently yet hope that they will never have to use their skills.
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  • Mine rescue teams and mine firefighters train diligently yet hope that they will never have to use their skills.
    A friendly competition among coal mine teams goes a long way toward sharpening their emergency skills.
    If disaster strikes, the teams will be prepared.
    Tuesday and Wednesday Southeastern Illinois College hosted its second Mine Rescue and Safety Competition. It tested the skills of miners from Illinois, Indiana and West Virginia. The winners of this local event will go on to compete nationally.
    Harrisburg area miners formed two teams, Red and Blue, from local coal mines.
    There were eight exercises that the teams had to complete:
    Fire and Hose Management
    Gas Testing
    Smoke Exercise
    Mine Rescue Contest
    Bench Exercise of Oxygen Equipment
    First Aid Competition
    Command and Control
    Written Test
    The rescue competition took place on a marked course that simulated an underground mine's complex passageways.
    The miners had to constantly test for methane gas while working the course from diagrams that showed the mine's layout or floor plan.
    The hose management competition required the team to bring their hose to bear on a target — a metal briefcase — and then propel the target through narrow passages with the blast from the hose. The guy on the nozzle had to have his actions coordinated with the other team members handling the hose. Snaking a fire hose through the complex passages of an underground mine is no mean feat. The miners had to work together as a single unit.
    SIC partnered with Illinois Eastern Community College to sponsor the event. IECC
    Dean of Workforce Education Mike Thomas said, "The purpose is to prepare for a mine disaster. These are rescue teams from the area's mine's. The purpose is to keep our miners prepared and safe on the job."
    IECC administers the coal mining instruction given at SIC.
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