MSHA conducts emergency exercise at underground mine

By |  November 4, 2015

The Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA), in conjunction with the Missouri Department of Labor’s Mine Safety Program, participated in a simulated mine emergency exercise on Nov. 6 at Eagle Materials Inc.’s underground mine in Sugar Creek, Mo.

The mine emergency drill (MERD) included nine mine rescue teams from across the Midwest. The teams used the latest underground communication and rescue technology in four exercises. The exercises included:

  • Underground Communications: Teams wearing breathing apparatuses explored an active underground mine to search for “missing” miners and to extinguish simulated fires.
  • Surface & Mine Emergency Operations: Teams stationed at the mine emergency command center used communication technology to direct the underground teams.
  • Rescue in Smoke-Filled Environment: Teams traveled with zero visibility to search for “trapped” miners and extinguish simulated fires. This is a separate exercise from the underground communications exercise.
  • Injury Triage: Teams reacted to a simulated motor vehicle accident. In this instance, they rescued and administered first aid to 20 passengers on an overturned school bus.

During the event, Joe Main, assistant secretary of labor for mine safety and health, offered brief remarks. Joe Urosek, MSHA’s chief of mine emergency operations, demonstrated the latest emergency response equipment and technology. Members of the media also were able to witness the four simulated scenarios.

“Mine rescue will become safer and more efficient thanks to new technology that enables real-time communication between rescue teams underground and officials in the surface command center,” Main says.

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