2012 Illinois State Mine Rescue Contest

Miners Compete in Rescue Competition
By Clint Misselhorn
August 23, 2012

MARION - Miner Patrick Gomez is taking this competition serious.  He says he is not just competing, he is practicing to save someone's life.

Gomez says "Whether I know you or not I'm going to go for you.  If a situation occurs and you are ever in trouble, we'll all be there.  Not just myself, but all of these teams out here."

Gomez says mine rescue disaster training is an essential part of any mine operation.

In this competition teams are given a mock disaster drill.  They suit up just like it's the real thing, going through a mine layout similar to what they'd see underground.

Chief Judge Mike Rennie says each team will encounter several obstacles.

Rennie says "they'll have placards that tell them if they have a caved area or if they have bad oxygen or an explosive mixture or things like that and the teams react to it how they find those."

Teams are timed and docked points for miscues.  The ultimate goal is to rescue the trapped miner.

Rennie says each teams has "an unconscious guy and they went in and did the EMT procedures on him and now they're bringing him out of the mine."

Every detail matters in this competition because in a real rescue mission, conditions won't be near as good.

Gomez says "you're probably not going to be able to see each other in a real situation.  If you are ever in a real smoke situation you can't see the hand in front of your face, let alone a person in front of you or behind you "

Above ground mine rescue may have it's limitations, but Rennie says this training is as good as it gets.

"It's similar.  It's nowhere near being underground and being in the real thing.  This is the way we have to train and these guys use it as a very good training tool."

Over 20 teams from Illinois, Indiana, and Missouri competed this year.
Click to open slideshow