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Mine Safety and Health Administration MSHA's Accident Prevention Program
Miner's Tip

Mine Fire Escape Training

Safety Something YOU can live with!
Mine Type: Underground Coal
Category: Training

As a miner working underground -- what will raise the hair on the back of your neck? A mine fire! The choices you make can mean the difference between life or death. A miner who is trained extensively in the various escapeway routes and understands the mine ventilation system has the best chance to get out of the mine alive.

Primary and alternate escapeway are a designated route out of the mine, however, it may be necessary to use other routes if the designated routes are blocked by fire or smoke. Other routes may lead through a bleeder system or a mandoor to fresh air. For example, if the longwall headgate entries are impassable because of a fire, you may be able to exit off the tailgate or bleeder entries. A fresh air shaft located near an active mining section may provide a quick and safe route to the surface or a source of fresh air.

Nontraditional training techniques are needed to acquaint miners with survival techniques. Ventilation systems, especially in large mines are challenging to understand. During training, quiz miners on a mine fire scenario and how to get safely out of the mine. These lessons will educate the underground workers on the value of good decision making, alternate escapeways, and the mine ventilation system.

Many lives have been saved because the miner knew how to use the ventilation system to their advantage. Many lives have tragically been lost because the miner was not familiar with the ventilation system. Victims have been found within easy reach of fresh air. The more knowledge a miner has of the ventilation system, the better the chance of escape during a mine fire.

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Reissued: 08/12/2002
Tag # AP2002-M005