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May 6th, 2015 ~ Vol. 85 No. 18
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Mine rescue teams prepare
Crowsnest Pass Herald Front Page
EKMISA 92th Zone Mine Rescue Competition
EZRA BLACK
Pass Herald Reporter
The Elk Valley mining industry’s emergency responders will be putting a show on Saturday, May 9 at the 94th East Kootenay Zone Surface Mine Rescue and First Aid Competition.
The annual competition is hosted locally by the East Kootenay Mines Industrial Safety Association (EKMISA), and it gives mine rescue teams the opportunity to be judged on how they would deal with five skill challenges — first aid, fire, bench, rope and an extrication.
“[The competition] was originally designed for underground mine rescue teams,” said EKMISA spokesperson Brent Roberts. “Underground mine rescue is complex in nature and inherently dangerous, with many life threatening hazards associated with things such as deadly gasses, underground fires and underground cave ins.”
Underground mining was practiced exclusively in the Elk Valley until the late 1960s but has since shifted to surface, open pit mines. This has forced mine rescue teams to change the skills needed to provide adequate rescue services to workers. Roberts said today’s surface mine rescue teams would be considered more aligned with services offered by industrial fire brigades. Recently however Elkview has re-established a fully qualified and equipped underground mine rescue team.
All five of the Elk Valley’s mine operation will be taking part in the competition. Each year a different mine operation takes on the task of organizing theses competitions. This year the responsibility fell to Greenhills Operation. The event will be hosted in Elkford at the Elkford Arena area on Michel Road.
continued below ...


The first and second place teams from the zone competition will go on to compete in the provincial competition this June in Smithers, B.C. The B.C. champion will participate in the National Western Regional Mine Rescue biennial competitions, which will be held in Fernie in September 2015.
Local industries’ Occupational First Aid (OFA) teams will be competing as well as the up-and-coming intermediate (16-19 year olds) and juniors (12-15 year olds) first aid teams. These teams compete in their own emergency event, showcasing their first aid skills.
This is a large-scale event that takes many hours to coordinate. Roberts said the EKMISA is always in need of help for tasks such as, patients in the mock scenarios, helping with set up of tents and event infrastructure as well as tear down.
The competition day is a fun event for families. Volunteer victims and extreme make-up help to make the scenarios more realistic for the teams and spectators, and there will be a free spectator barbeque sponsored by Finning and SMS.
“Around the Valley men and woman wearing orange hard hats are recognized for their devotion to safety; people know that they will always be there for them in their time of need,” said Roberts.
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May 6th ~ Vol. 85 No. 18
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