May 23, 2013

Rescue teams at area coal mines train in a variety of skills they hope to never have to use, readying themselves for fires, cave-ins, and various other potential underground disasters. Next month at Southeastern Illinois College, miners from around the region will converge for a happier display of those skills at the college’s second annual Mine Rescue competition, slated for June 11 and 12. 

Last year’s competition, held Sept. 21, was a one-day event featuring competitions in first aid scenarios, equipment use, burn tower search and rescue, field search and rescue, and fire suppression in the college’s state-of-the-art burn tunnel facility.

This year, the event has been expanded to a two-day event featuring 10 teams – mostly from Illinois, but also featuring mines from Indiana and West Virginia. Teams with the top three scores will be recognized each day, as well as an overall event winner that will be awarded on the final day.

“Last year’s competition was an exciting start to what we hope will be a long history of hosting such competitions,” said Karen Weiss, Southeastern’s Dean for Career and Technical Education. “We are happy to be able to expand the event to two days this year, and expect a spirited competition that will help further prepare our area miners for disaster response.”

In addition to scores of volunteers from SIC, officials from Illinois Eastern Community Colleges – which administers all coal mining classes offered at SIC – as well as the Illinois Department of Natural Resources’ Office of Mines and Minerals and the Mine Safety and Health Administration will all serve together as judges, guides and more to make this a successful event.