Rescue competition a great learning tool – by Ron Grech (Timmins Daily Press – May 23, 2014)

The Daily Press is the city of Timmins broadsheet newspaper.

TIMMINS – Ted Hanley has seen first-hand how training for mine rescue competitions has helped in real-life emergencies.

“Absolutely,” said Hanley, who is the team captain for mine rescue team at Kidd Operations (Glencore). “We’ve had several decades of very experienced competition-trained individuals here who have led teams to actual fires and actual emergencies underground … The more experience people receive in mine-rescue training, the better prepared you are for a real emergency.

“It builds confidence. I know competition training is a level above the normal training you receive, so the people who are involved in the competition are typically very capable leaders with the rest of the roster if there is an emergency.”

The team from Kidd Operations will be representing Timmins district when the Provincial Mine Rescue Team Competition is held here June 5 and 6. The mine rescue teams conduct a lot of training to prepare for the competition.

That is because there is an “unlimited” number of possible emergency scenarios the six-member team may have to respond to, said Hanley.

“In the absence of an actual emergency, we do mock emergencies and go through our procedures, how we would handle those emergencies. Then the competition is just a mock scenario that the officers have dreamt up and we have to sort out.

“We’ll typically go through roughly 15 different scenarios in the month leading up to the competition and hope we have touched on enough first aid and special equipment use and firefighting to cover all the bases.”

Kidd earned the right to compete the in the provincials when it won the district competition held earlier this month at the McIntyre Arena.

Kidd was last year’s provincial champion and will be aiming to retain that title.

“Each mine takes pride in winning their district and going to the provincial competition,” said Hanley. “This mine took a lot of pride in winning the provincial last year because it had been 34 years since we won it. It was a long-time coming. A lot of people put a lot of years into training the teams.”

Ray Stratton, safety and emergency response supervisor at Kidd Operations, explained, “Every year the competition is held in a different district. It rotates through all the different districts and, this year, it happens to be Timmins’ turn to host the district. The host company changes every time it comes to that district.”

Goldcorp Porcupine Gold’s Dome Mine is the host site for this year’s event.

Even though the Goldcorp team is not actually competing in the provincials, Stratton said there is a real benefit for mines that are selected to host the event.

“There is a lot of learning that happen during competition, lot of ability for the hosts of the competition to see all the different people from across the province who participate in the competition. So you can learn a lot from the other competitors and you also learn a lot from the organization that puts it on, Workplace Safety North.”

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