Mine rescue teams from district converge on Timmins – by Len Gillis (Timmins Daily Press – May 6, 2015)

The Daily Press is the city of Timmins broadsheet newspaper.

TIMMINS – It’s Ontario Mine Rescue competition week in Timmins. Beginning today and carrying through to Friday, mine rescue teams from Timmins and Kirkland Lake will be taking part in a double district competition.

Two of the North’s best-known mining communities will be holding their annual district events at the McIntyre Arena with four teams competing for the Timmins district title and four teams vying for the Kirkland Lake district title.

Competing for the bragging rights in Timmins are Glencore Kidd Operations who are last year’s local winners, Goldcorp Porcupine Gold Mines, Lake Shore Gold and Dumas Mining. Competing for the Kirkland Lake title are Kirkland Lake Gold Inc., AuRico Gold, SAS St. Andrew Goldfields Ltd., and Primero Gold Black Fox Mine.

By Friday night, two teams will emerge as district winners and with that they also win the right to represent their district at the All-Ontario Mine Rescue competition which is to be held in Thunder Bay on June 11 and 12. Timmins Mine Rescue officer Manny Cabral said the annual competitions are important to the overall mine rescue program because the competition teams learn from the annual exercise and bring that knowledge back to their mine rescue colleagues at their particular mine.

He said that is the same reason that the teams do not always consist of the same people year after year after year.

“So the value is not just the competition we do, which is done as realistically as possible, but the value is also for all the other people in the organization,” explained Cabral. “They get to learn. They get to bring their skills and their understanding of emergency preparedness to a higher level.”

He said the mock scenario that will be carried out in the darkness of the McIntyre Arena these next few days is not created to try to stump the competitors, but to challenge them and get them to learn more.

“The scenario is very important,” said Cabral. “This year’s competition is the same competition all across the province in the seven mine rescue districts.”

He said the scenario, which is a secret, has been written by veteran mine rescue officers Duane Croswell from Thunder Bay district and Wayne Baker of Kirkland Lake.

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