Having found out that Hartham Park recently hosted some Mines Rescue Training I was interested to find out what on Earth it involved.
Hartham Park Underground Quarry has been used several times this year for ‘hands-on’ Mines Rescue Training courses run by Brian Robinson at Rescue 1UK. These were attended not only by our team at Hartham Park but also by employees of other Companies who are lucky/brave enough to operate underground. Brian has asked me if I’d like to observe a session but, being someone who is definitely not at home underground, I have yet to take him up on his kind offer.
So how did this form of training come in to existence? Well following various mining disasters that sadly claimed many hundreds of lives, the first Mines Rescue Station was opened in Tankersley, Yorkshire in 1908. The Station was designed and equipped to be able to train local miners and respond swiftly to disasters and incidents both locally and further afield.
Rescue1UK follow the same ethos with similar principles in both training and equipping miners to ensure that, if the worst case happens and disaster does strike, they are properly prepared.
The training can be physically very demanding and all Rescue Team Members therefore have to be reasonably fit and medically examined every 12 months. On top of their initial 6 days of training they are also required to attend a minimum of 6 x 1 day training sessions per year to keep their skills level up at an optimum level.
In addition to teaching the skilled use of Self Contained Breathing Apparatus that enable the Team to safely breathe in an irrespirable atmosphere, training sessions focus on areas such as thermal image cameras for use in smoke, advanced first aid and the use of lifting bags for large machinery or stone blocks.
Practice sessions are either held in purpose built ‘galleries’ or underground in a mine such as Hartham Park Bath Stone where synthetic smoke and props are used to try and replicate the tough conditions that a Rescue Team would face during a disaster. And tough conditions they really are, wearing 18kg of breathing apparatus in arduous conditions for up to 90 minutes, it is both mentally and physically very tiring!
The trainers demand sweat but apparently they do reward team members with….donuts! Perhaps I should join in with a session after all!
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