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DOL Press Release - MSHA/ 05-1045-CHI
U.S. Department of Labor
Contact: Suzy Bohnert    Dirk Fillpot
Phone: (202) 693-9420    (202) 693-4676


Released Monday, June 13, 2005

Mine Rescuers Test Their Skills in Simulated Mine Emergency in St. Clairsville, Ohio

ST. CLAIRSVILLE, Ohio - Mine rescue teams may be tapped to battle mine fires, contain underground floods, and rescue their colleagues trapped beneath layers of rock or disoriented by toxic gas. These teams undergo rigorous training to develop skills that, should they ever need to use them, could save lives. Those skills will be put to the test June 14-16 during the 24th annual Ohio Valley Mine Rescue Contest in St. Clairsville, Ohio, where officials from the U.S. Department of Labor's Mine Safety and Health Administration will judge one of the nation's largest regional mine rescue competitions.

"These contests test the skills of mine rescue teams in a simulated mine emergency environment," said David G. Dye, acting assistant secretary of labor for mine safety and health. "Naturally, we hope those skills will never be needed, but their fellow miners can feel confident knowing that, even in competition, mine rescue team members hold themselves to the highest standards."

The contest consists of several events. In the field competition, teams must solve a hypothetical mine emergency problem while judges rate them on how well they adhere to mine rescue procedures and how quickly they complete specific tasks. In the benchman contest, individuals who maintain rescue equipment must thoroughly inspect breathing devices and gas equipment and correct all defects quickly. In the first-aid contest, emergency medical technicians tackle real-life scenarios.

More than 20 teams from Ohio, West Virginia, Virginia, Pennsylvania, Illinois, Kentucky and Alabama will compete in the contest at the Belmont County Fairgrounds, 100 Fair St., St. Clairsville.

Mine rescue training began in the United States in 1910. The training efforts evolved into local and regional competitions leading up to the national contest, which will be held in September in Louisville, Ky.

SCHEDULE OF EVENTS

Tue, June 14 First Aid Contest Begins at 1:30 p.m. Fairgrounds
Wed, June 15 Field Contest Begins at 8 a.m. Fairgrounds
Thu, June 16 Benchman Contest Begins at 8 a.m. Fairgrounds
  Awards Banquet 7 p.m.-8:30 p.m. Recreation Center