Rescuers display expertise

CADIZ – The Ohio Department of Natural Resources’ (ODNR) Division of Mineral Resources Management (MRM) held its sixth annual Ohio Mine Safety Competition at the state-of-the-art Jerry L. Stewart Mine Safety Training Center in Cadiz on Thursday.

Ten Ohio teams and two Pennsylvania teams competed this year.

This year’s competition featured two major events: Mine Emergency Response Development (Merd) Contest and Bench (breathing apparatus) Contest. The Ohio Valley Coal Company Powhatan #6 Mine won the mine rescue competition while Darrell Lee of Gatling Coal Company, Yellowbush Mine won the bench competition.

“I can tell you that all of these teams are very good at what they do,” said Craig Corder, Mine Safety Program Administrator. “On any given day any one of them could win this competition, it is just that close.”

“If I was a trapped miner and heard rescue teams from Ohio were on the way,” Corder added proudly while choking back some emotion. “I would know the best was coming.”

“The Mine Safety Training Center has two 158′ by 200′ simulated mines and for the first time we are using both indoor courses,” stated Ronald D. Glasgow, president of Tri-State Post 6, who again designed the mock mine disaster problem for this year’s event.. “These dark corridors are filled with simulated smoke for the competition, which forces the teams to crawl through zero visibility smoke in portions of the indoor mines, I think it a makes the rescue training more realistic and gives a true impression of how to navigate in a mining emergency.”

“We are very proud of our mine rescue teams here in Ohio, they are well trained and prepared” said Lanny E. Erdos, Chief of ODNR Mineral Resources Management on hand for the competition. “The competition this year has been very successful and we have heard a lot of good positive feedback from the competitors.”

“I am humbled by your dedication and willingness to put yourself in harms way,”Erdos told the miners during the awards ceremony. “Mining is still a very dangerous business, I am not sure I could do it.”

The remaining two golden mine lantern awards went to runner-up Buckingham Coal Company, Buckingham #6 Mine and third place trophy went to Sterling Mining Corporation’s Sterling Mine in Jefferson County.

Hopedale Mine’s Michael Doane took runner-up in the bench competition while Jeff Kline of Rosebud Mine South won third.

Commemorative awards were also handed out to all past mine rescue and mine safety competitors in attendance by Corder.

“Regardless of who wins the competition is essential to improving the skills of our rescue teams,” Erdos commented. “It is also a good way to get these guys together and get them to know of each other, because in a real mine emergency these teams will be working together to save their fellow miners.”