Emergency teams assemble

PREPARATION can mean the difference between an incident and a disaster and the Queensland Mines Rescue Service's MEMS course is making strides in training miners in how to properly handle an emergency situation.
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QMRS training course under way

Staff Reporter

The five-day live-in course puts representatives from Queensland mines through the MEMS system and ends with an intense daylong emergency simulation that the crew must handle.

QMRS operations manager Mick Farrag takes the course and told International Longwall News that since its inception MEMS has put more than 100 mine employees through the course, which is held each month.

The most recent course, held last week at the Western Gateway Motel in Emerald, involved 16 miners from Kestrel, Broadmeadow, Crinum, Oaky North, Oaky No. 1, Grass Tree and Bundoora plus a Queensland mines inspector.

Farrag said the live-in nature of the course gave participants a chance to develop inter-mine relationships which could come in handy if a serious emergency arose that required additional support.

"Each mine has an emergency response team in place to deal with a situation but by teaching the MEMS system across all mines we're hoping that if something large scale does happen, crews from other mines will be able to assist if needed," he said.

He added the situations simulated in the training were multi-layered and components participants had to deal with included delegation of authority, data collection, logistics and media relations.

And it was no easy task for last week's trainees who encountered a roof fall in their longwall mine during which two employees were injured, the armoured face conveyor was stalled and the shearer was buried.

Farrag said that by offering feedback to participants, and involving outside influences, crews are able to realise the pressure they will be under in a real incident and be able to put the MEMS system into place.

The system is broken down into four main categories: incident control, planning group, operations group and logistics group, with each section responsible for an integral part of the response effort.

Farrag said while key response personnel attend the course a four-hour course is hosted at minesites to familiarise other mine staff with the system, and a two-day refresher course is currently being developed by QMRS.

The next MEMS course will be held next week.