Fire, cows and a whole lot of miners

Recapping the 62nd Mine Rescue and First Aid Competition in Kimberley, B.C.

by Kyle Born
A fire burns into the air

The 62nd Mine Rescue and First Aid Competition took place at Centennial Field in Kimberley, B.C. on June 10. — Kyle Born photo

The Provincial Mine Rescue and First Aid competition is an annual event that brings together mine rescue teams from across B.C. to test their emergency response and rescue abilities in either surface or underground competitions in a one-day event open to the public. This year’s event took place at Centennial Park in Kimberley on June 10.

Mining teams took part in a variety of trials such as firefighting and extrication. Judges critiqued their effort and graded them based on criteria set out for each simulation.

“Each task is scored out of a certain amount of points,” said chief judge Jerrold Jewsbury. “It goes into an aggregate system. Whoever gets top aggregate points ends up winning overall.”

Greenhills Teck operation out of the Elk Valley won the competition, but because they won two years in a row for the provincial competition, the second-place team gets to go to the western regionals. The second-place team was Elkview. They will take part in the Western Region Mine Rescue Competition on September 8th and 9th in Fernie, B.C.

Below is an assemblage of photos taken during the 62nd Mine Rescue and First Aid Competition. Captions contain a simple title for the photo and an explanation provided by chief judge Jerrold Jewsbury. 

A man and a woman dressed in a cow costume

Man versus beast “In the rope scenario, that was a warehouse. One of the cows got loose from the neighbouring farm to the mine, wandered onto the mine site and got into the warehouse. As it went up into the warehouse, it destroyed the stairs. The warehouse worker and the cow couldn’t get down. While it was in there, it started getting rambunctious. The warehouse worker was frightened so he called up the mine manager and he got the farmer over there.” — Kyle Born photo

Mine rescue workers try to free a man trapped under a woman dressed in a cow costume

Man down “The whole idea was to tranquilize the cow and remove it from the upper level warehouse to the farmer’s trailer so he can transport it back to the farm within a certain time period.” — Kyle Born photo

Men harness a barrel shaped like a cow

Lassoing a cow “If the cow woke up after 20 minutes, or if they didn’t have it done, then the cow would revive and wreak havoc again. Once they tranquilized the cow, it stumbled and fell on the warehouse worker, breaking his pelvis.” — Kyle Born photo

A large truck with a crane lifts a barrel shaped like a cow

Away she goes! “There are different elements to scoring: scoring of the captain, safety of the team, securing the ropes—how they put them together, whether it’s proper or wrong—and patient care. Usually the tasks are scored out of 600 points. The first aid element is in addition to that as well.” — Kyle Born photo

A woman is dressed as a cow and a barrel is shaped like a cow

Two cows “I’ve been at industry places where bears have got into the warehouse. So, yes, it is something that could play out.” — Kyle Born photo

A mine rescue worker secures a patient for safe transport

Securing the patient “The whole idea is this: get the cow out of there so you can rescue the warehouse worker and get him off to the ambulance so you can get him to the hospital.” — Kyle Born photo

Miners start a fire in a controlled environment

Starting the fire “When the mines go into that task (fire fighting), they have to do a recharge on a cannister-type extinguisher. They have to fill the fire extinguisher, (and) check the seals and threads so it’s all clean and in proper functioning order for when they put out the fires.” — Kyle Born photo

A fire rages

It’s a little toasty. “It’s to simulate an actual fire like a backdraft or a blowback—a mushroom effect to keep the miners at bay to use caution as they’re going in. There’s a sequence on how it has to be done. If they don’t, it’ll come back on them and they’ll be landing on their butts.” — Kyle Born photo

Miners douse a fire with fire extinguishers

Dispelling the flames “There’s six people on a team. Three different parties—teams of two. Each person has to go through it. Two people will be attacking that fire. They have to come in with proper wind direction and approach the fire working together. They split as they get closer. One person will be working the bottom, the other person working the top.” — Kyle Born photo

Miners try to find their way through a maze

Navigating the maze “We try to get people familiar with what is new and innovative in the industry: rescue work, different tools that they can use to make the mine sites a safer place. Then they come to the competition. Some of these guys are newbies, some of them have been at it for a long period of time. You see the difference in how they react to them (the challenges).” — Kyle Born photo

A group of miners rests between activities at the 62nd Mine Rescue and First Aid Competition

Takin’ it easy “The idea is to gain a consensus throughout the whole province for mutual aid and see how they’re going to react if we ever have a major incident in our province. Everything went really well.” — Kyle Born photo

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