State Operations Manager Steve Tonegato represented NSW Mines Rescue at the 8th International Mines Rescue Body (IMRB) Conference held in Russia in September 2017.
Nearly 200 delegates representing mines rescue organisations from 18 countries gathered to share current mines rescue practices and challenges. The program focused on innovations and ways to improve mine emergency preparedness, planning and response under the theme, ‘Extending Knowledge. Improving Safety’.
The event was hosted by EMERCOM, Russia’s Ministry for the management of emergencies and civil disasters, across three locations: Moscow, Novokuznetsk and St Petersburg. The conference included visits to the new National Mines Rescue centre, the National Crisis Management Centre, the construction site of the Moscow Metro (biggest underground in the world), EMERCOM’s University and Mining University. There were also visits to coal mines and processing plants, field exercises and a trade show.
In addition to participating in the IMRB General Meeting, Steve delivered two presentations: Development of an Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) (Proof of Concept) for Mines Rescue Rapid Response to Coal Mine Emergencies and the Gen4 Virtual Reality (VR) Development. He was also asked to speak about safety and accident prevention in Australia.
“The group was really interested in what we do here in terms of prevention, given our exceptional safety record,” explained Steve. “They were keen to learn about the latest developments in our industry including risk control methodologies and importantly the focus on not only accident prevention but in the prevention of all workplace injuries.”
NSW Mines Rescue’s contribution to the International Mines Rescue community was recognised with Steve being presented an official medal ‘For cooperation between rescue services’ by the Ministry of the Russian Federation for Affairs of Civil Defence, Emergencies and Disaster Relief (EMERCOM). The medal was one of six awarded to international delegates to the conference.
“It was an unexpected and humbling experience to be recognised at an international level for something we do every day,” said Steve. “Being part of the IMRB enables Mines Rescue to build and maintain relationships with our international community and ultimately leads to better coordination in responding to disasters in order to ensure a safe and effective response to a mine emergency.”
About the International Mines Rescue Body (IMRB)
The IMRB was formed in May 2001 with the purpose of promoting mines rescue at an international level and to improve mines rescue knowledge and practices by supporting global cooperation. The body’s members meet every two years to exchange information on the organisation of rescue brigades, rescue operations, methods and principles of rescue training, and the equipment utilised.
NSW Mines Rescue is one of the key founding members of the IMRB. The IMRB is comprised of 23 member countries.