International rescue competition underway

A TOTAL of 16 mine rescue teams from seven countries will gather at the Southern Mines Rescue Station in Wollongong, New South Wales, this week to compete in the seventh International Mines Rescue Competition, hosted by Coal Services Australia.
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Lou Caruana

The competition, which is being officially launched tonight by NSW Minister for Mineral Resources Steve Whan, is designed to test the skills of mine rescue contenders from around the world.

The Australian competition format will involve a simulation of real events and will utilise virtual reality operational techniques to add a new layer of competition for the teams.

Each team will be allocated a four hour competition time slot between 6.30am and 5.30pm.

Countries represented in the competition will include Russia, Ukraine, Poland, USA, India, China and Australia (NSW and Queensland).

The Queensland teams are from Gregory Crinum and North Goonyella and the NSW teams are from Springvale and Appin.

The winning team will be announced at an awards presentation dinner on Friday November 12 in Wollongong.

This year’s program is sponsored by Dräger, Xstrata Coal NSW, Peabody, Employers Mutual and Spark Helmore.

Meanwhile in the NSW Mines Rescue open cut competition, Coal & Allied’s Bengalla operation took out first place overall, with its Mount Thorley Warkworth mine also winning three individual events and finishing in second place overall.

The competition was held last week at the Singleton Rescue Station, Bengalla general manager operations Andrea Sutton said.

“Safety is a core value at Bengalla and we have a real focus on using these competitions to learn and to improve,” she said.

“This competition is all about performing as a team, everyone has to play their role under trying conditions,” Bengalla emergency response team captain Phil Dalessandro said.

“I’m pleased that we performed strongly across the wide range of events, from firefighting to rescues at heights and in confined spaces, first aid and theory.

“This is all about making sure that if we ever have a real emergency situation, our team has trained hard and is ready to go.”