Mine rescue volunteers from Vale West Mines were crowned with gold hard hats by Ontario Mine Rescue as the winners of the 66th annual Provincial Mine Rescue Competition in Thunder Bay, June 11 and 12.
Seven teams from across Ontario, selected in district competitions, were evaluated on their knowledge, firefighting skills, first aid response, use of emergency equipment and decision-making ability under stress in simulated underground emergencies at Fort William Gardens.
The Vale West team consisted of: Captain Kevin Duff, Briefing Officer Paul Aho, Jeff Farquson, Jim Niesing, Mario Ceccon, Nick Jones, Darren Toner, and Gord Sullivan. The team won the Sudbury District competition in May.
Dan Rulli, mine rescue technician for Canadian Gypsum Company, Hagersville, won the award for top technician. Rulli won the Southern District competition in May.
Mine rescue competitions, which started in 1950, are as much intensive learning opportunities as a chance to test emergency response capabilities. The competitions ensure that mine rescue volunteers across the province are trained to the same high standards.
In the closing banquet, two mine rescue volunteers: Ghislain Lebel, KGHM International in Sudbury, and Terry Sprowl, Goldcorp Porcupine Gold Mines in Timmins, were honoured for 30 years of service to Ontario Mine Rescue.
During the two-day, three-scenario exercise five-member teams had to find and provide first aid to a miner missing in an underground fire; provide first aid to three casualties in a vehicular incident; and extinguish a fire in a mine vehicle. The first operation was conducted “under oxygen” (using self-contained rebreathing apparatus).
Competing mine rescue teams represented Compass Mineral, Goderich Mine (Southern District); Goldcorp Canada, Red Lake Gold Mine (Red Lake District); Barrick Hemlo (Thunder Bay/Algoma District); Dumas Contracting Ltd. (Timmins District); AuRico Gold (Kirkland Lake District); Glencore Sudbury INO, (Onaping District); and Vale, West Mines (Sudbury District).