Keywords: emergency response, underground smoke training, mine rescue simulations, response technology
Technologies for today's mine emergency responders
Historically, underground mine rescue teams have only received training in the course of actual emergencies, or in simulated mine environments, usually on the surface, with placards to identify objects and hazards. Also, while US Federal Regulations require all underground miners to walk escapeways and conduct fire drills every 90 days in a smoke-free environment, this does not fully prepare them for the conditions that will be encountered in real escape situations. This paper describes technology and realistic training simulations that have been identified for the general workforce and mine emergency responders. Of all the technology evaluated by underground personnel, laser lights and lifelines were most beneficial in leading personnel to safety and out of the mine in smoke-filled passageways. These technological advancements can improve the state of readiness for rescue personnel and increase the chances of survival for personnel escaping from underground emergencies.