Report: APP CMHS Project 4

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6.6.2. Emergency Preparedness

Escape routes with route marking must be provided in all underground mines with both primary and secondary escape routes. These are typically marked with lighting systems, reflective droppers and lifelines with directional cones and multiple cones that indicate SCSR caches or route junctions.

Simulated emergency exercises drills are conducted typically with an annual surprise exercise in many US states. Some mines will use smoke to fill a roadway and make the emergency more lifelike.

All mine workers are required to undergo emergency escape protocols as part of the annual refresher training. They also take part in biannual fire training. First aid and first response training is provided for all supervisors. The training focus is being modified to address the changing demographics of the industry – focussing on new and inexperienced miners and training experienced miners in the need to improve current approaches to mining – eg ergonomics and engineering solutions. Culture surveys are currently being conducted at a number of mines to help identify and understand emergency response issues; and thereby to aid miners collectively to make better decisions in such conditions.

A computer based emergency response software program (MERITS – Mine Emergency Response Interactive Training Simulation) was developed and utilised in 2002 to assist with training emergency responders and to supplement decision making skills at all levels. This program is to be rejuvenated and relaunched in the near future. It is also intended to develop and implement computer ‘games’ that will reinforce actions to be taken for Fire Response, Mines Rescue and Emergency Decision Making in underground coal mines. It is intended that these will accurately simulate emergency scenarios. A Virtual Reality laboratory is being developed similar to the Australian Coal Services models detailed in the Australian section.

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