While equipment was eventually found and the workers trapped in the south-western Pennsylvania coal mine were saved, the delayed access to emergency sources could have been much more costly.
With this in mind, a new mine emergency operations database listing mine rescue teams nationwide and mine emergency services at federal, state and local levels has been developed and is now available online.
The online database is a result of an alliance between MSHA, the National Mining Association and the Bituminous Coal Operators Association.
"Emergency planning is critical for all mining operations if an emergency were to occur and lives were at stake," MSHA acting assistant secretary David Dye said.
“This database should prove to be a valuable resource for safety personnel and the public in preparing for mine emergency responses.
"This database ties into 12 million businesses nationwide – both mining businesses and vendors that supply goods to the industry. It also fulfils an e-government initiative to help make government more accessible to people."
Located at https://lakegovprod1.msha.gov/MEO/Default.aspx, the Mine Emergency Operations (MEO) database can be searched by service provider and specific category, including vendors, suppliers, mine emergency operations team members, state agencies and emergency contact personnel.
The public can also search by location or a specific description of the desired equipment or service.
Vendor information appears on screen based on the radial distance from the ZIP code of the mine emergency. For instance, if someone wanted to find a 24-inch drill, the system would list companies located within a radius of 10, 50 or 100 miles from the site of the emergency.
Companies listed in the MEO database are part of the North American Industry Classification System, which has codes to provide a broad grouping of similar industries.
Data will be updated quarterly.