Ed Taje is leading a crew of workers in Centennial Park who are setting up a wooden maze designed to simulate an underground mine. It will be used as an underground obstacle recovery course during this weekend’s Provincial Mine Rescue competition in Revelstoke.
What obstacles will be inside the tunnel? Taje, a B.C. mining ministry senior mines inspector in the Coast region, says he won’t tell me because the competitors will find out – it’s a competition, after all.
About 400 people are expected to participate in the event, and spectators are welcome.
They’ll take in competitions that include underground obstacle recovery, underground donning, fire, surface rope extraction, first aid drills, practical surface skills and surface extraction. (See map below).
Taje says the competitive environment helps get the adrenalin flowing, simulating the stress involved in real rescues.
There will be handouts for spectators explaining what’s going on in each individual event.
It’s one of two mine rescue competitions in town this week.
On Thursday, June 9, the Revelstoke Snowmobile Clubhouse on Powerhouse Road will host teams competing in the 2011 North Central and South Zone Mine Rescue and First Aid Competition. Winners from that competition will advance to Saturday’s event.
This Saturday, June 11 is the annual Provincial Mine Rescue Competition from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. It takes place at between Centennial Park and the Revelstoke Community Centre.
I ask Taje if the 2010 Copiapó mining accident in Chile has raised awareness about mine rescue. He said it had, but added that the rescue side is only part of what the mining industry does. It starts with safety.
Taje said safe practices make mining one of the safest heavy industries in the country. “And this is one of the reasons why,” Taje said, motioning to the workers setting up the course.
He also said the events will be a great introduction for anyone interested in a career in mining. Lots of key people and contacts from B.C. and beyond will be available to answer questions at the event.