Tech hosts mock mine disaster drill and rescue contest
- Tech hosts mock mine disaster drill and rescue contestEl Defensor Chieftain - Socorro,NM,USA
The "School of Mines" is becoming a mock mine disaster area.
New Mexico Tech is set to host the first biannual, statewide Metal/Nonmetal and Coal Mine Rescue Contest and the New Mexico Mining Association's 67th Annual Convention and Trade Show next week.
State Mine Inspector Rebecca Boam of the New Mexico Bureau of Mine Safety said she expects about 150 people for the contest and another 250 or more for the convention.
The contests run Monday through Friday.
Professional mine rescue teams are scheduled to work with state and federal officials in a Mine Emergency Response Drill on Friday from 8 a.m. to probably noon, Boam said.
She said the drill would allow participants to role-play and fix any problems.
Earlier in the week, people who work for New Mexico, Colorado and Utah mines have competitions in first aid to identify problems with breathing apparatus, work through rescue scenarios and inspect areas for hazards.
"In response to the recent accidents in the U.S., this is one way to be sure we're prepared to respond to any emergency that should occur," Boam said.
However, she hopes none will happen.
An awards dinner that combines contest and convention participants is set for Thursday.
The conference is scheduled for Wednesday through Friday and includes teaching sessions and reports from regulatory and national agencies. New Mexico Mining Association Executive Director Mike Bowen said the event aims to bring members together and let them know about industry happenings.
"We try to give people an idea of what's going on in the whole circle of the industry," he said.
The main theme will be "your association is working for you," he said. Presenters tell about the group's activities and financial picture.
As for the mine rescue contests, the public is invited to watch. Boam said extra problem booklets and people to answer questions would be available.
The events present an opportunity to learn about the abilities of New Mexico miners and understand industry issues the media has shown, she said.
In Tuesday's first aid contest, teams dealt with a simulated injury.
The same day, miners participated individually in the bench contest. In timed sessions, they searched for planted problems in the breathing apparatus they might use on the job.
"If it's missing even one washer or one component, it could be the difference between life and death if they're in an environment that won't support life," Boam said.
For Wednesday's mine rescue contest, teams of miners work through a scenario of a problem in a mine. They must account for people, remove and put up barriers in simulated entries and map the mock mine and their findings in it.
"And that usually takes about two hours for (each) team to get through that part," Boam said.
In the coal miners' pre-shift contest Thursday, competitors simulate a safety inspection of an area before workers arrive. They find and, if possible, fix problems, and then complete a written exam.
For a contest schedule, visit http://www.bmi.state.nm.us/MR%20Schedule%20of%20Events%20%20Socorro%202006.pdf.