Cadiz hosts annual Mine Rescue Contest

CADIZ – The 32nd annual Ohio Valley Mine Rescue Contest was held last week at the state-of-the-art Jerry L. Stewart Mine Safety Training Center in Cadiz.

Ronald D. Glasgow, president of Tri-State Post 6, stated that the competition was at full capacity once again with 35 rescue teams competing in this year’s event.

“We limit the competition to 35 teams,” Glasgow said. “We had to turn a few away this year which we hate to do, but it is exciting to have a full slate and two teams from Alabama in the competition this year.”

“Safety is what ODNR is all about. Our mission is to protect the environment and to protect Ohio and the people who are using the resources,” said Mark Bruce, Public Information Officer for the Ohio Department of Natural Resources Office of Communications, who was experiencing his first competition. “This competition and this training facility are both recognized as one of the best in the country.”

“We are proud to have facilities like this that industry and these rescue teams can use,” Bruce added. “So that the people above the ground and the people under the ground are aware that we are going to do everything we can to make sure that you are safe when you are doing your job.”

“We feel this is an important part of the training for rescue teams. These hands on mine safety competitions help develop and test the skills of mine rescue teams by using simulated mine emergency conditions,” Craig Corder, Mine Safety Program Administrator agreed. “The advances in safety procedures in the past 30 years I have seen in the industry are amazing.”

“I have had miners on the street just come up to me and thank me for the facilities. We can put those miners in there in smoke, and they have to find their way out,” Corder explained, saying that the indoor mine simulator is unique. “Now instead of just hearing about smoke and reading about smoke, they have done it and they know exactly what they are going to be into.”

In addition, the indoor facility offers the competition the opportunity to hold the pre-shift competition in an actual mine setting.

“ODNR does a lot of training, and we have found that with everything we do you have to have real world training for situations,” Bruce explained. “You have got to have real life simulated training, because you can do it on paper and you can walk through it and that is good, but you have to have something like this to make sure people really know what they are doing if and when an actual emergency should arise.”

Craig Corder reported that this year’s champion was Enlow Fork Green from Claysville, Pa. The six-man rescue team and victim were awarded their trophy in a ceremony following the competition.

Arch Coal, Inc. Beckley Mining Complex Roy Smith won the Bio Pack competition, and McElroy Coal Company Randy Clark won the bench competition. First Aid trophy went to Mingo Logan Coal Co.

Mountain Laurel Gold Team Mark Keyser of Sharples, W.Va. and Pre-Shift was won by the Consol Pa. Coal Co. Bailey Blue 2 Mine.

The combination competition trophy went to Mingo Logan Coal Co. Mountain Laurel Gold Team.

Corder also announced that at the Ohio State competition to be held in Cadiz there will be a ceremony to recognize any past mine rescue team members. The awards and recognition ceremony is planned to be held at 3 p.m. at the training center on June 19. All past mine rescue team members are invited to show up and receive a small token of gratitude and be acknowledged.