Brigadesmen from across the region descended upon Centennial Coal’s Newstan Colliery on Friday, 15 June to compete in the annual Newcastle Mines Rescue competition. Team Orange, led by veteran brigadesman Bob Wilson, were declared overall winners of the event that was designed to test their skills under pressure.
The day’s format included several underground and surface simulation exercises to demonstrate knowledge and the use of equipment in realistic scenarios, including exercises to test hazard awareness, underground search and rescue, first aid and fire-fighting.
‘The Newcastle competition format is unique and as close to a real life scenario as these brigadesmen will experience. Brigadesmen receive a simulated call to duty early in the morning and are given instructions to attend a particular mine site. Teams are formed as they arrive,’ explained Darren Parker, Acting Regional Manager Newcastle Mines Rescue.
‘It not only tests their core skills, but also their ability to act and communicate effectively as a team,’ he said.
Darren went on to explain that teams include seasoned brigadesmen with active duty under their belt, and new brigadesmen competing for the first time.
‘The competition is an opportunity to join new trainees with more experienced brigadesmen to test what they have learnt in their intensive induction program but also to learn from the experience of others,’ he said.
The primary purpose of Mines Rescue is to provide emergency response to the industry in the case of an emergency. Events like these allow the Brigadesmen to test and hone their skills in preparation for the unfortunate circumstance where they may be called upon.
General Manager Mines Rescue and Regulation and Compliance, Matt Fellowes said,
‘Thankfully, major incidents requiring brigadesmen response are limited. As an industry we continually strive to create a safer work environment and these volunteer brigadesmen help to support a proactive safety culture onsite. They play a pivotal role in preventing significant incidents from occurring. They, and the mines they represent, can be proud of the skills they have demonstrated today.’
The competition is the first in a series of regional competitions hosted by NSW Mines Rescue.
Competitions will also take place in Singleton in July, and Wollongong and Mudgee in August.