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MSHA News Release No. 2001-0618
Mine Safety and Health Administration
Contact: Amy Louviere
Phone: (703) 235-1452

Released Monday, June 18, 2001

Mock Mine Disaster Puts Rescue Teams in Top Form for Actual Mine Emergencies

They've battled mine fires, contained underground floods and rescued their colleagues trapped beneath layers of rock or disoriented by toxic gas. Mine rescue teams are highly trained specialists with skills that enable them to save lives and recover mine property. Their technical expertise will be put to the test June 20 and 21 during the Ohio Valley Mine Rescue Contest, which takes place at the Belmont County Fairgrounds, 100 Fair St., St. Clairsville, Ohio.

Twenty-two teams from seven states'including one from Ohio and six from West Virginia"will compete in the annual two-day event, second only in size to the national coal mine rescue competition which will be held Sept. 18-20, 2001 in Louisville, Ky. (Teams listed separately.)

"Mine rescue contests are invaluable training exercises that enable teams to solve an elaborate problem when miners' lives are not on the line," said Dave L. Lauriski, assistant labor secretary for mine safety and health. "Naturally, we hope their skills will never be needed, but their fellow miners can feel confident knowing that, even in practice, they demand of themselves the highest standards in mine safety."

Mine rescue competitions require six-member teams to solve a hypothetical mine emergency problem"'such as a fire, explosion or cave-in   while judges rate them on their adherence to safety procedures and how quickly they complete specific tasks.

In other phases of the competition, benchmen   those individuals charged with maintaining rescue equipment"must thoroughly inspect breathing devices that have been purposely tampered with and must correct those defects as quickly as possible.

In the first aid contest, participants must demonstrate the correct method of caring for an injured miner. Teams are judged on the use of proper application of skills according to the fundamentals of first aid.

Mine rescue training began in the United States in 1910, the year the U.S. Bureau of Mines was created. Joseph A. Holmes, the bureau's first director, sought a training vehicle that would provide the mining industry with a cadre of mine rescue specialists who would be prepared to respond to mine disasters. The training efforts evolved into local and regional competitions and, a year later, a national contest.

Activities Schedule
June 20

8 a.m. -- Mine Rescue Contest begins June 21
8 a.m. -- Bench Contest begins
10 a.m. First Aid contest begins

Participating Mine Rescue Teams

ALABAMA

Jim Walter Resources, Inc., #7 Mine
U.S. Steel Mining Co., LLC, Oak Grove Team

ILLINOIS
The American Coal Co., Galatia Team
White Co. Coal LLC., Team Pattiki

KENTUCKY
Consol of Kentucky, Inc., Consol of Kentucky Team
Lodestar Energy, Inc., Baker Team
Webster Co. Coal, LLC, Dotiki Team

OHIO
Morton Salt

PENNSYLVANIA Consol Coal Co., Bailey Team
Consol Coal Co., Dilworth Team
Consol Pa. Coal Co., Enlow Fork Team
RAG Cumberland Resources, Cumberland Team
RAG Emerald Resources L.P., Emerald Team

VIRGINIA
Consol Coal Co., Buchanan No. 1 Team
Island Creek Coal Co., Island Creek - Consol Team
Lone Mountain Processing Inc., Lone Mountain Team

WEST VIRGINIA
Consol Coal Co., Blacksville No. 2 Team
Consol Coal Co., Shoemaker Mine
Eastern Associated Coal Corp., Federal No. 2 Team
Eastern Associated Coal Corp., Southern Appalachia Team
Elk Run Coal Co., Elk Run Team
U.S. Steel Mining Co., LLC, Pinnacle Team