Mines Rescue brigades were called to Centennial Coal’s Newstan Colliery on Friday, 26 May 2023 to test their emergency response skills in a series of simulated incidents. Competing in both underground and surface environments, teams applied their specialist training towards search and rescue, first aid and fire-fighting.
Only three points separated first and third place, with the Green team captained by Kameren See named overall winners of the event.
“I would like to thank the team for their efforts today; they were a great team and we all drew on each other’s experience to do our best at each scenario,” said Kameren. “Thanks also to our mines for allowing us to train and to compete at these events and to Mines Rescue for training and coming up with some tough exercises.”
This year’s competition saw many first-time captains step up to the challenge in an effort to develop the next generation of leaders.
“I love being part of Mines Rescue. I’ve been part of Mines Rescue for ten years and have competed in around eight competitions,” Kameren added.
“This was my first time as captain so there were plenty of nerves. Throughout the day I just tried to be calm and assess the hazards to make the best decisions for the team. John Turner (Centennial Executive General Manager Mining Safety) was our vice-captain, which was invaluable to me and to the team, as he has so much experience and has captained many winning teams over the years.”
At the presentation dinner that followed the competition, John Turner was presented with the perpetual Champions Award, which recognises an individual who demonstrates Mines Rescue’s core values of ‘we care, we work together and we make a difference’.
In an emotional speech, John reflected on his 32 years as a brigade member.
“Mines Rescue has been a big part of my life,” John said. “I’ve been lucky enough to compete in many competitions over the years — I still get a buzz from doing that — but it’s the training and support we get from Mines Rescue itself that is most important.
“I’m proud to have been part of Mines Rescue all these years; and I’ll try to squeeze a few more in yet.”
John Turner Mines Rescue brigade member and recipient of the 2023 Champions Award
Mines Rescue has been a big part of my life... but it’s the training and support we get from Mines Rescue itself that is most important. I’m proud to have been part of Mines Rescue all these years; and I’ll try to squeeze a few more in yet.
The primary purpose of Mines Rescue is to provide emergency response to the NSW coal mining industry in the case of an emergency. Thankfully, major incidents requiring brigade response are limited. Events like these allow brigade members to practise and hone their skills in preparation for the unfortunate circumstance where they may be called upon.
Lachlan Grant, NSW Mines Rescue State Operations Manager, said that the Newcastle competition format is unique in that brigade members are called to duty early in the morning and are given instructions to attend a particular mine site. Teams are formed as they arrive, replicating what could happen in a real-life situation.
“Teams are a mix of brigades from different mines, where they may not know each other well or have not worked together before, which is what could happen when responding to an actual emergency. It adds an extra layer to the day where we are assessing their core skills but also how they communicate and work as a team,” he explained.
“I’d like to thank Centennial Coal and Newstan Colliery for allowing us to hold the event at their mine and for all the sites for allowing their teams to compete. Competitions are an important part of our training and holding the event at an actual mine site takes the training up a level which we can’t do at the station.”
These competitions are the first in a series of regional competitions hosted by NSW Mines Rescue. The winning teams from each region are invited to compete at the Australian competition to be held in later in the year.
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