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  • MSHA-2201
  • November 1981
  • March 2005

Northern Mine Rescue Association
  • A mine rescue and recovery operation does not
    simply consist of a team going into a mine to
    rescue survivors or to put out a fire. It
    consists of much more - a whole network of people
    and services to direct and support the entire
    operation, especially the rescue teams.

  • When your team arrives at a mine to begin rescue
    work, the rescue and recovery operation will
    probably have already begun on the surface.
    Several officials and mine personnel will have
    been called to the mine site to assume their
    duties in a chain-of command. Also, several mine
    facilities will have been set up to handle the
    large number of people and services required for
    the operation.

  • This training session on surface organization is
    designed to familiarize you with how a rescue and
    recovery operation is organized and managed so
    that you can better understand the role the team
    plays in relation to the overall organization.

  • The first few hours after an emergency occurs at
    a mine are often the most critical to saving
    survivors and/or the mine property, so it is
    particularly important that surface organization
    be well-planned and well-managed.

Objective 1
  • The team members will become familiar with the
    mines emergency notification plan

Visual 1
  • Each mine should have an Emergency Notification
    Plan for notifying necessary personnel when there
    is an emergency at the mine. This plan lists the
    various supervisors, administrators, and
    government officials who have to be notified of
    the emergency.

  • Mines are required by law to also have and post a
    Mine Rescue Notification Plan for notifying all
    the mine rescue team members that will be needed
    to assist in the rescue and recovery operation.
    This Mine Rescue Notification Plan may be part of
    the Mine Emergency Notification Plan.

Examples of the supervisors and administrators
who would be included in such a plan are the
  • Mine Manager
  • Mine Superintendent
  • Mine Foreman (off shift foreman also)
  • Safety Director
  • General Mine Manager
  • General Mine Superintendent
  • District Inspectors (State and Federal)
  • Chief, State Department of Mines
  • District MSHA office and
  • District office of miner's union (if involved)

Mine Notification Plan
  • The mine's notification plan should also include
    any other people or services that will be needed
    at the mine site such as police officers, supply
    clerks, telephone operators, medical personnel,
    ambulances, and other emergency vehicles.

Objective 2
  • The team members will understand the importance
    of establishing a chain-of-command and identify
    the teams place in this chain

  • A great number of people will be doing many
    different jobs during a rescue and recovery
    operation. Therefore, it is important to
    establish a clear chain-of-command so that
    surface arrangements can be handled smoothly and
    so that the rescue and recovery work itself can
    be well coordinated.

  • Located at the top of the chain-of-command is the
    mine manager or the mine superintendent. The
    manager or superintendent usually delegates
    responsibility for various jobs to other people.
    These people must know exactly what their duties
    and responsibilities are, who to report to, and
    who reports to them. Later on in the lecture we
    will discuss one way of dividing up these duties
    and responsibilities.

  • State and Federal officials will arrive at the
    mine site to advise and observe. Federal
    officials can take charge of an operation if they
    deem it necessary, but normally their role is to
    consult with and advise the company personnel on
    how the rescue and recovery work might best be
    carried out.

  • The rescue team is one link in the
    chain-of-command. The team is under the direct
    supervision of the team captain, and the team
    captain deals with the Safety Director or other
    designated official who is responsible for the
    rescue teams.

  • Surface arrangements cover a wide range of
    activities and require the coordinated efforts of
    many people.
  • Surface arrangements include such tasks as
    establishing a command center where all the
    decisions are made, providing an adequate
    information center from which all public
    information is released, and obtaining and
    distributing necessary supplies and equipment.

Objective 3
  • The team members will identify the various
    facilities and arrangements normally recommended
    for carrying out a rescue and recovery operation

Suggested Facilities Arrangements
  • Command Center
  • Located at the hub of the mine rescue operation
    is the command center, which is where the people
    in charge gather to plan and direct the rescue
    and recovery operation.

Visual 2
Command Center
  • The command center will have communications
    equipment in it connected to the underground
    phones and to other surface phones, along with
    mine maps for following the progress of the teams
    and for marking findings and figuring out

Waiting Area for Teams
  • When the teams arrive at the mine site, they
    should be checked in and assigned to a team area.

Waiting Area for Teams
  • A "rotation schedule" should be worked up by the
    Safety Director (or whoever is in charge of the
    teams) for the deployment of all teams called to
    the mine site. The rotation schedule will assign
    teams to work at certain intervals and will
    designate when each team is to serve as a backup
    team to the fresh air base or as a standby team
    on the surface.

Bench Area for Apparatus
  • An area that has work benches and where water is
    available should be set aside as an apparatus
    room where the apparatus can be cleaned, tested,
    and prepared for use by the bench men or by the
    team members themselves. If convenient, the Mine
    Rescue Station can be used as a bench area for
    the apparatus.

  • Having good security at the mine is important in
    order to keep the roads open and to ensure that
    curious bystanders do not hinder the mine rescue
    effort and are not injured while on the mine
  • All roads and paths leading to the mine should be
    secured and guarded by assigned company personnel
    or police officers. Incoming traffic on the roads
    leading to the mine property should also be
    regulated by authorized personnel to keep
    unnecessary vehicles off the roads so that they
    can remain open for needed personnel, supplies,
    emergency vehicles, and so forth.

Information Center
  • Some Sort of an information center should be
    established on the surface for authorizing and
    issuing all information that is released to the
    public. The center should preferably be directed
    by a company official or by a State or Federal
    official authorized to issue news releases to the
    press and to any families and friends of trapped
    or otherwise involved miners.

Information Center
  • In addition to the person issuing the
    information, a company or government spokesperson
    is sometimes authorized to deliver the news
    releases to the public and to answer any
    questions that may arise.

Information Center
  • Copies of all news releases should be given to
    the news reporters to help prevent any confusion
    or misconstrued facts. Also, a copy of each news
    release with the time and date it was issued
    should be placed on file for future record.

Waiting Area for Families and Friends
  • A special room will usually be set aside as a
    waiting room for the families and friends of any
    trapped or otherwise involved miners. The waiting
    families and friends should be kept informed as
    to the progress of the rescue and recovery
    operation with hourly or periodic progress
    reports issued from the information center.

Press Room
  • An area completely separate from the family
    waiting area should be set up as a pressroom,
    where media representatives can gather to receive
    the news releases issued from the information
  • News reporters should be restricted from
    wandering about the mine property, as they could
    receive information, which is based on
    speculation, or further upset the waiting
    families by trying to film them or interview them

Food and Sleeping Quarters
  • Arrangements for food and sleeping quarters
    should be made for all personnel at the mine.
    Usually food is brought in and rooms at a nearby
    motel are reserved. If there aren't any nearby
    motels, arrangements should be made for sleeping
    quarters at the mine

  • If it will be necessary to test samples of the
    mine air during the rescue and recovery
    operation, a laboratory with suitable air
    analysis equipment should be set up at the mine
    for testing such air. If this is not possible,
    the air samples may have to be sent to an
    off-site laboratory for analysis.
  • Sometimes, mobile air analysis equipment, such as
    that on a mine rescue van, can be brought to the
    mine site for quick air analyses.

Medical Facilities
  • Some arrangement for medical services and
    facilities should be made. This could range from
    standby ambulances, EMTs, and a first aid room to
    a temporary hospital, depending on the situation.

Temporary Morgue
  • In situations where bodies are being recovered
    from the mine, a temporary morgue will be

Objective 4
  • The team members will identify the various
    personnel and duties normally involved in surface

Suggested Personnel and Their Duties
  • As mentioned, a great number of people will be
    doing many different kinds of jobs during a
    rescue and recovery operation. These range from
    making sure that necessary supplies are ordered
    and on the way to making the plans for the actual
    rescue and recovery operation.

Suggested Personnel and Their Duties
  • The following list of personnel and their duties
    suggests the people that may be involved in
    surface organization during a mine emergency and
    describes how the duties might be broken down.

Mine Manager or Superintendent
  • If the mine has a mine manager as well as a mine
    superintendent, the manager usually carries full
    responsibility for the rescue and recovery
    operation. In these cases, the mine
    superintendent works directly under the manager.
    In situations where the mine does not have a mine
    manager, the superintendent is in charge of the
  • The mine manager or superintendent should
    establish the command center and oversee all
    aspects of the rescue and recovery operation. He
    or she will delegate responsibility for various
    aspects of the operation as necessary or
    according to a prearranged plan.

Mine Manager or Superintendent
  • It is suggested that the manager or
    superintendent establish an advisory committee
    composed of company and Federal representatives.
    and (if involved) State and union representatives
    to serve and advise during each shift at the
    command center.
  • This committee, along with the mine manager or
    superintendent, could also serve as a
    briefing/debriefing committee to inform teams
    going into the mine and to gather information
    from teams coming out of the mine.

Mine Manager or Superintendent
  • The mine manager or superintendent should also
    designate both an official to serve as the fresh
    air base coordinator for each shift, and an
    advisory committee to serve and advise the
    coordinator during each shift at the command
  • Also, this person should designate someone to
    direct the information center and issue news

Mine Manager or Superintendent
  • The mine manager or superintendent should be sure
    to delegate personnel to
  • Notify the families of any (trapped miners, which
    should be done in person if possible
  • Notify the families of any miners or other
    personnel who have been authorized to stay at the
    mine site as emergency operations personnel
  • Monitor the underground phone circuit
    continuously, regardless of whether or not it
    appears to be operational
  • Obtain gas samples from the main exhausts

2.Mine Clerk
  • A mine clerk will likely be designated as
    responsible for all necessary communication
    coming into and out of the command center. The
    duties of the mine clerk are to
  • a. Notify all persons on the notification plan
    and inform them of the emergency
  • b. Attend the telephone at the command center
  • c. Assign people for errand duty

3. Chief Electrician
  • The duties of the chief electrician are to
  • a. When authorized by the person in charge, pull
    and immediately lock all electric switches
    controlling the electricity to the mine
  • b. Provide the materials for additional telephone
    communications as needed
  • c. Arrange for any needed assistants

4. Chief Mechanic or Mechanical Foreman
  • The duties of the chief mechanic are to
  • Check explosion doors (for exhausting fan) or
    weak wall (for blowing fan) for damage. Make sure
    explosion doors are closed/or weak wall is
  • Check fan and, if necessary, instruct an
    electrician or machinist to make repairs to the
  • Monitor the operation of the fan and the
    atmosphere in and around the fan house if the fan
    is exhausting. With an exhausting fan, proper
    precautions should be taken to avoid asphyxiation
    or an explosion in the fan house
  • Alter ventilation only when ordered to do so by
    the person in charge

5. Outside Foreman
  • The duties of the outside foreman are to
  • Arrange for guards and state and/or local police
  • Rope off and guard all mine openings
  • Guard all roads and paths leading to the mine
  • Designate a person as a check man to monitor
    people entering and leaving the mine. The check
    man should
  • Attend to his/her assigned station within the
    roped off area
  • Allow no one to go underground except persons
    authorized by the officials in charge
  • Examine each person (entering the mine) for
    matches and smoking materials, making no
  • Check off each person by name and number and
    record the time as they go in and come out of the
  • Set up an eating area and make sure that ample
    food and drinks are available for the rescue
    team. and other personnel
  • Set up medical facilities (first aid room, triage
    center, emergency hospital), restroom, and a
    temporary morgue, if necessary, and make
    arrangements for sleeping quarters

6. Safety Director
  • The safety director is usually responsible for
    the mine rescue teams. The duties that the safety
    director would normally have are to
  • Assemble mine rescue teams and first-aid crews
  • Provide facilities and equipment for testing,
    cleaning, and recharging the breathing apparatus
  • Assign personnel to issue, record, and return
    mine rescue equipment
  • Consult with the mine manager or superintendent
    regarding plans for the rescue and recovery
  • Establish a rotation schedule for the rescue

Visual 2
6. Safety Director
  • The rotation schedule should be designed so there
    is a clear order of team usage and so backup
    teams are always available. There should be an
    adequate amount of time allotted for resting
    teams and for cleaning, testing, and preparing
    the apparatus.
  • Exactly how the schedule is set up depends on how
    many teams are available to the rescue operation,
    what the conditions are underground, and what the
    service time of the apparatus is. It is often
    recommended that no rescue operation start with
    less than three teams ready and available on the

7. Chief Engineer
  • The duties of the chief engineer are to
  • Supply the command center with copies of maps
    showing the regular flow of air and the location
    of ventilation controls, doors, pumps,
    substations, machinery, and the electrical system
    with control switch locations
  • Alert adjoining mines if they are connected
    under-ground with the affected mine
  • If needed, obtain maps of adjoining mines
  • Make arrangements to furnish drilling rig
    equipment if needed

8. Supply Clerk
  • The supply clerk (or clerks) is responsible for
    obtaining and distributing all the equipment and
    supplies used for the operation. The duties of
    the supply clerk are to
  • Prepare an inventory of existing equipment and
  • Contact other mines and suppliers to obtain other
    needed supplies and equipment
  • Provide the following for immediate use nails,
    brattice cloth, hatchets, axes, saws, picks,
    boards, telephones, wires, any needed gas testing
    equipment, sledge hammers, slate bars, shovels,
    timbers, stretchers, batteries, and first-aid

8. Supply Clerk(continued)
  • Provide the following for authorized personnel
    coveralls, safety shoes, gloves, caps,
    flashlights, safety glasses, and lamp belts
  • Keep a record of all equipment issued and returned

9. Lamp man
  • The lamp man is responsible for issuing all cap
    lamps, self-rescuers, check numbers or tags. The
    duties of the lamp man are to
  • See that each person receiving a lamp is approved
    by the mine manager or superintendent
  • Record the equipment issued and returned
  • Give each person going underground a check number
  • Record the name and number of each person going
    underground in a book.

10. Mine Foreman
  • The duties of the mine foreman are to
  • Organize underground operations for each shift in
    cooperation with the person in charge, Federal
    inspectors, and (if involved State inspectors and
    union representatives
  • Provide suitable transportation for people and
    supplies, as needed

11. Other Company Personnel
  • The duties of other company personnel are to
  • Assemble organizations according to the
    pre-arranged plan
  • Stand by until ordered to assist or leave.

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