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The State of Indiana has a fully equipped mine rescue station located at Vincennes University under the supervision of the Indiana Bureau of Mines. This Mine Rescue Station is housed in a mobile mine rescue van that is prepared to service all mine rescue equipment. The van is equipped to outfit and maintain two mine rescue teams.
The Bureau of Mines supervises one composite state Mine Rescue Team, and contracts with a second private team to provide the required two team coverage for four of Indiana’s underground coal mines. The state composite team consists of dedicated volunteers from the Sunrise Coal Company Carlisle Mine and Triad Coal Company Freelandville Mine. The state contracts with Five Star Coal Company Prosperity Mine Rescue Team and Black Panther Oaktown #1 Mine for second team coverage. Both federal and state law impose strict requirements and minimum standards on mine rescue teams.
There are four more private mine rescue teams in Indiana. Gibson Coal Company has two teams, as does Peabody Coal Company. Each of these teams would be ready to assist the other Indiana teams in the event of an emergency. The Indiana state composite and contract teams would likewise assist these teams if necessary to save lives. Mine rescue work is demanding and dangerous, but it is capably staffed by brave and skillful volunteers in Indiana.
The state mine rescue team competed in four mine rescue contests in 2012, including the Robert Earl Jones Mine Rescue Contest in Ina, Illinois, the Illinois State Mine Rescue Contest, WKMI in Madisonville, Kentucky and the Indiana State Mine Rescue Contest. Mock mine disasters ranged from mine fires, explosions, floods and roof falls. The teams are judged on how safely they respond to each mine emergency and trophies are awarded to top performers. The following are members of the Indiana Mine Rescue team:
Dave Daniels Landree Mine Joby Johnson Freelandville Mine Chad Smith Carlisle Mine Zach McBride Landree Mine Keith Messel Carlisle Mine Neil Stakeman Freelandville Mine Eric Terrell Freelandville Mine Steve Zygai Carlisle Mine Mike Hersel Freelandville Mine Dustin Stahl Landree Mine
The team trainers include Don ”Blink” McCorkle, Indiana Bureau of Mines, assisted by Steve Riley, Chief Mine Inspector with the Indiana Bureau of Mines.
In 2010, the Indiana mine rescue team exceeded minimum training requirements. To comply with federal regulations, teams are required to have 96 hours of training annually. The Indiana team had approximately 250 hours of training. Training included mine scenario disasters, working in smoke, maintenance of breathing apparatuses, CPR, Hilti gun training, and hazards of blood pathogen transfer in emergency situations. The team meets monthly to service equipment and for training updates.
Indiana Bureau of Mines has developed some suggestions and considerations for mines in developing their own Emergency Response Plans.