Underground mine rescue comp starts at Newcastle

THE 31st annual Newcastle underground Mines Rescue competition started at 6am on Friday with a text message to more than 130 Newcastle mining brigadesmen, advising them to attend a local simulated underground incident.

Lou Caruana

This is the first time the new emergency activation system has been used to deploy mines rescue teams, mines rescue state operations manager Steve Tonegato said.

“This large scale testing of our new activation system was successful with 44 brigadesmen replying in the first two minutes,” he said.

“This technology has greatly improved the speed in which we communicate with our teams and our overall rapid response to the NSW mining industry.

“The annual competitions are a unique opportunity for underground mines rescue teams to sharpen their skills in high pressure simulated emergency situations and receive constructive feedback from mines rescue experts. It is a great learning event.”

Eight teams of seven from different local sites were mixed on the day to increase the realism of having to work with people they may not be familiar with, which could mirror an actual event.

The competition included eight scenarios including a mix of first aid, fire-fighting, search and rescue, primarily whilst wearing breathing apparatus.

“This year, local members of the Police, Fire Brigade and the Department of Primary Industries (DTI) attended to observe the competition,” Tonegato said.

“This is a great opportunity to increase their knowledge and awareness of the operational capabilities of our mines rescue teams, and how incidents are managed in the high risk underground environment.

“Successful collaboration between multiple emergency response agencies is critical in determining outcomes, should a major incident arise. Competitions like these are a great opportunity to discuss key learnings and identify better ways of working together.”

The winning team will compete at the Australian titles in October, which will also be held in Newcastle.

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