Mine Rescue And Response
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Mine Rescue And Response

Filetype[PDF-684.90 KB]

  • English

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      This paper describes technology and training that has been identified for underground emergency responders. Historically, underground mine rescue teams have only received training in the course of actual emergencies, or in simulated mine environments, usually on the surface, with placards to identify objects and hazards. Also, while U.S. Federal Regulations require all underground miners to walk escapeways and conduct fie drills every 90 days in a smoke-free environment, this does not fully prepare them for the conditions that will be encountered in real escape situations. Therefore, it is extremely important that miners are provided with adequate technology and that training simulations are conducted in a realistic manner. A series of mine rescue training and mine emergency response development (MERD) exercises, and in-mine smoke training was developed, conducted, and evaluated by state and company teams, and by National Institute For Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) personnel. The training exercises were held at NIOSH's Lake Lynn Laboratory (LLL) and operating mines during the past several years. This training resulted in improved technology and training for mine rescue teams, fire brigades, first responders, and miners in general. For example, existing technologies were identified to help responders during exploration and recovery operations. These included various chemical light shapes, strobe lights, light vests, and laser pointers to identify team members. Most of these devices may be used to mark underground areas and certain mine materials. Strobe lights were used for mapping out escapeways and lasers were used to negotiate travel through smoke. Thermal imaging systems allow rescue personnel to see in darkness and through dense smoke, and allows the user to easily locate missing or trapped personnel and heated areas. A hands-free communication system showed potential for enhanced communications between team members, the fresh air base, and command center. A new team lighted-lifeline allows for flexibility in movements of team members during routine tasks and allows them to easily find their fixed position on the lifeline. Of all the technology evaluated by underground personnel, laser lights and lifelines were most beneficial in leading personnel to safety and out of the mine in smoke-filled passageways. A positive-pressure inflatable escape device (IED)/airlock, was used to isolate the "hazardous" environment from fresh air and allow rescue team members to traverse through. An inflatable feed- tube partition that can rapidly block large openings such as underground passageways or tunnels and simultaneously provide a feed-tube for high-expansion foam generators was also deployed during the simulations. These technological advancements have improved the state of readiness for rescue personnel and have increased the chances of survival for all personnel escaping from underground emergencies.
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