Following a grueling day of intense competition, three dedicated B.C. mine rescue teams claimed victory this weekend at the 60th annual Mine Rescue and First Aid Competition in Smithers.
Teams from throughout the province gathered to compete in surface and first aid events, becoming part of the rich history of B.C. mine rescue competitions that date back to 1915.
The annual competition plays a crucial role in ensuring emergency preparedness at all mines in British Columbia and pits teams of mining safety and rescue professionals in head-to-head competition, allowing crews to show off their skills during simulated mine rescue situations.
With assistance from a variety of sponsors and volunteers, the B.C. Provincial Mine Rescue and First Aid Competition, hosted by the Ministry of Energy and Mines, is as much an intensive learning opportunity for the teams, as it is a chance for teams to test their emergency response capabilities.
Those who took part in last weekend’s competition represent the best of the best in mine rescue and first aid in the province and embody that rare but essential quality - men and women who are sincerely dedicated to others. The intense training and numerous hours the teams put in to hone their skills prior to competing contribute to the competitor’s success during the competition.
Spectators from around the province gathered in Smithers on Saturday to see the teams put their skills to the test. This years’ competition was divided into two categories: Surface and Three Person First Aid. Tasks featured life-like simulations testing teams’ skills in firefighting, first aid, gas detection, extrication, rope rescue and other general competencies regarding mine rescue procedures or equipment.
The competition highlights the industry’s commitment to health and safety best practices and ensures B.C. mines have consistent standards of training and procedures so that they may provide assistance to one another in the event of an emergency.
Thanks to the ongoing co-operative efforts of mine employees, mine management, unions and regulators, mining continues to be one of the safest heavy industries in B.C. A complete list of the winners follows.
Major Category Competition Winners:
Three Person First Aid: Huckleberry Mines, near Houston
Three-person first aid teams compete in one task that is a simulated mine emergency situation where the primary focus is for competitors to demonstrate their First Aid knowledge and capabilities.
Best First Aid Coach: Huckleberry Mines
Prize goes to the best coach for the first aid task.
Best Extrication: Huckleberry Mines
The extrication and smoke tasks features a series of activities designed to test the team’s ability to perform in limited visibility conditions.
Best Bench: Huckleberry Mines
Practical skills or “Bench” is a series of tasks designed to test overall general competencies for mine rescue procedures or the utilization of rescue equipment.
Levitt Fire Trophy: Highland Valley Copper, near Ashcroft
The fire task is designed to test the team’s firefighting and communication skills during an emergency on actual fire simulations.
Highest non-aggregate points: Highland Valley Copper
The surface mine rescue team with the highest total points for all the tasks combined.
Overall Surface winner: Highland Valley Copper
The surface mine rescue team who has the highest aggregate points (based on ranking for each task) for all tasks combined.
East Kootenay Mines Industrial Safety Association Best Written: Elkview Mine, near Sparwood
Each team writes a 45-minute exam testing their general knowledge on mine rescue and related procedures and equipment.
Bill Bennett, Minister of Energy and Mines and Minister Responsible for Core Review -
“B.C.’s mining industry can take pride in knowing that our mining safety and rescue professionals are world-class. I’d like to thank B.C.’s mine rescue teams for their service to their fellow miners and communities, their efforts, expertise and especially for their continued dedication to safety. Here’s to another 100 years of mine rescue competition in B.C.”
- Mine rescue has existed in B.C. to assist in mine emergencies since 1909. The Province held the first mine rescue competition in 1915.
- Under the Health, Safety and Reclamation Code for Mines in B.C., all mines are required to provide emergency response capability. This requirement has made the B.C. mining industry a worldwide model for the implementation of health and safety practices.
- The mining industry’s injury rates are lower than forestry, food and beverage products, metal and non-metallic mineral products, general and heavy construction, warehousing and transportation.
- In 2014, more than 30,000 people were employed in mining, mineral exploration and related sectors.
Mine Rescue Competition:
Ministry of Energy and Mines