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DOL Press Release - MSHA/05-881-KAN
U.S. Department of Labor
Contact: Suzy Bohnert    Dirk Fillpot
Phone: (202) 693-9420    (202) 693-4676

Released Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Mine Rescuers Test Their Skills in Simulated Mine Emergency

HUTCHINSON, Kan. - 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 May 17, 18 and 19 at the Kansas Shoot Out Mine Rescue Contest in Hutchinson, Kan., where officials from the U.S. Department of Labor's Mine Safety and Health Administration will judge the contest and participate as part of a training exercise.

"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 contests, 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.

Teams from Kansas, Missouri and Wyoming will compete in the contest being held at Hutchinson Community College (HCC), 1300 N. Plum.

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 is held every two years.

Tue, May 17 First-Aid Contest 8 a.m. - 1 p.m. HCC Science Hall
Wed, May 18 Benchman Contests 8 a.m. - 1 p.m. HCC Science Hall
Thu, May 19 Field Contest
Awards Banquet
Begins at 7:30 a.m.
6:30 p.m.
HCC Sports Arena
Eaton Activity Center