West Virginia University’s Department of Mining and Industrial Extension has received a grant from the U.S. Department of Labor’s Mine Safety and Health Administration that will allow it to enhance its training for fire brigade and mine rescue teams.
WVU was one of only six organizations nationally to receive the award, which was established as a provision in the Mine Improvement and New Emergency Response Act of 2006. Known as the Brookwood-Sago Grant, the awards were created to promote mine safety while honoring the 25 men who died in Brookwood, Alabama, in 2001 at the Jim Walter Resources No. 5 Mine, and in Buckhannon, in 2006 at the Sago Mine.
According to Joshua Brady, associate director of mining extension, the funds, which total more than $171,000, will be used to develop and implement enhanced training that integrates the efforts and capabilities of fire brigades and mine rescue teams when responding to a mine emergency involving fire and trapped miners.
“Typical mine emergency response development exercises don’t combine the intervention of both teams,” Brady said. “The new training protocol we plan to develop will contribute to enhancing the awareness of the capabilities of each team. This should lead to improved coordination and communication, which will improve mine emergency preparedness and ultimately prevent loss of life and property.”
Brady added that the grant will be also used for the recruitment of several mine rescue teams and fire brigades from different mines and to implement the training exercises and subsequent evaluations to assess reactions and feedback. The training exercises will be conducted by extension agents of the Department, who have extensive expertise in mine firefighting and mine rescue. It will be conduct at WVU’s Academy for Mine Training and Energy Technologies in Core, which features a simulated underground mine laboratory with live fire capabilities.
Brady and Eduardo Sosa, research associate professor in the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, serve as co-leads on the award.
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