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Teams from across the nation compete in mine safety competition

By: Michelle Heron Email
By: Michelle Heron Email

HAZARD, Ky. (WYMT) They put their lives on the line in order to save others.

Rescue teams from across the nation are in Perry County competing for the first place title at the Kentucky River Mine Rescue Contest.

It may look like a bunch of cones and rope to the untrained eye, but to members of more than 20 rescue teams, it is a disaster.
Mine rescue competitions like this one at Hazard High School help teams prepare for the situations they could encounter in the event of an actual disaster.

“Every problems is different, it hones their skills in areas of ventilation, mine rescue, gas testing and it helps the teams prepare in case there is an actual disaster,” Chief judge Chuck Barton said.

“We train quite a bit on the specific gases, what they do and where they’re located at in the mines,” James River Coal Training Manager Pearl Farler said.

Parker Reed is the captain of on team from Pennsylvania and says every second counts in the event of a rescue.

“We move through the mine in a systematic fashion trying to find the problems and resolve the problems and rescue survivors,” Reed added.

Rescue teams have to be prepared to encounter a number of problems inside a mine, like explosions from coal dust, methane and fires.

“We train quite a bit on the specific gases, what they do and where they’re located at in the mines,” Farler said.

A job that requires courage, as well as teamwork when it comes to saving lives.

The three day competition continues Thursday.

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