WVSOM helps test mine rescue teams with real world scenarios

International mining competition happening in Beaver
International mining competition happening in Beaver(wvva)
Published: Sep. 14, 2022 at 1:56 PM EDT
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BEAVER, W.Va. (WVVA) - It is day two of the International Mines Rescue Competition at the Mine Safety and Health Administration in Beaver. Teams from all across the world have come to test their skills against countries and sharpen their skills.

On Wednesday, WVVA News took a closer look at the first aide leg of the competition, where Zambia’s mine rescue team was tested in a mine rescue operation where at least three different miners are injured.

“A lot of these scenarios are designed with real world experiences in mind,” explained Dr. Mark Waddell with the West Virginia School of Osteopathic Medicine. “These are things miners have experienced literally all over thee world.

WVSOM provided the simulators which replicate humans who can do just about everything but walk. “We can make them moan. We can make them bleed. We can make their heart start and stop. We set up scenarios to fit MSHA,” said Janet Hinton, another one of the scenario designers with WVSOM.

The mine teams are judged on how they perform under pressure in categories ranging from first aide to rescue to battling fires in the mines.

“Sometimes the adrenaline takes over. Adrenaline is a wonderful thing. But sometimes it can make us do the wrong things. And that’s why it’s important to practice over and over,” adds Dr. Waddell.

At the end of the week, trophies will be handed out at the Beckley-Raleigh County Convention Center. But Dr. Waddell said the skills gained at the academy will be far more valuable than a piece of metal.

“The knowledge gained here will likely save lives in the future,” he said.