Mines Rescue Brigadesmen from across the Newcastle region descended upon Cooranbong Colliery last week to compete in the annual Coal Services Mines Rescue competition.
Seventy mines competed in the competition including Centennial’s Mandalong, Myuna, Newstan; Yancoal’s Austar and Abel mines, and Glencore’s West Wallsend Colliery.
Centennial Coal’s Mandalong Mine took out top prize on the day.
John Turner, Mine Manager of Mandalong Mine and Captain of the winning team on the day, said, ‘It’s important for our industry to support Mines Rescue by hosting these events. They play a significant role in our industry. As a competing Brigadesmen for over 24 years and a Mine Manager, competitions like today are invaluable to our industry. Centennial Coal is proud to be part of the Mines Rescue community, both hosting the event today at our mine and having our Brigadesmen compete,’ Mr Turner stated.
As part of the competition, Brigadesmen received a simulated call to duty early in the morning and were given instructions to attend a particular mine site. On arrival at the mine gates, teams were formed. These teams included seasoned Brigadesmen with active duty under their belt, and new trainees, competing for the first time.
Each team selected a captain, discused team strengths and started shaping roles and responsibilities for the day’s competition.
‘The Newcastle competition format is unique and as close to a real life scenario as these Brigadesmen will experience. It not only tests their core skills, but also their ability to act and communicate effectively as a team,’ explained Peter Cornford, Regional Manager Newcastle Mines Rescue.
The day’s format included several underground and surface simulation exercises to demonstrate knowledge and the use of equipment in high pressure situations. Scenarios included exercises to test hazard awareness, underground search and rescue, first aid, firefighting and a theory component.
Teams were assessed on their ability to utilise their emergency preparedness training, apply first aid and operate mines rescue and gas monitoring equipment; use of self-contained oxygen regenerative breathing apparatus (SCROBA) and compressed air breathing apparatus (CABA).
Mr Cornford thanked Centennial Coal for hosting the competition onsite and also acknowledged the commitment of other mines in the region in allowing the teams and others to attend.
Competitions are run across NSW to a standard format where teams are assessed against Mines Rescue competencies. Competitions will also take place in Singleton in July, and Lithgow and Wollongong in August.
The winners from each of the four district competitions will be invited to compete in the Australian competition which will be held in Queensland during October 2014.