INA, Ill. (Aug. 9, 2013) – Murray Energy Corporation hosted their second successful Fire Brigade Inner-Company Midwest Regional Contest competition this week at Rend Lake College’s Coal Mine Training Center, with several mock events for three Midwest mines.
Jeff Wirth, Corporate Safety Director for Murray Energy Corp., said that he’s glad to be back at RLC for the contest.
“This is a very good training facility, and the training that is offered here is outstanding,” said Wirth. “The staff has been excellent in helping organize this contest, and we plan on coming back every year.”
During the three-day contest, nine teams from Murray Energy Corp. competed for a seat in the National Contest in September. The nine teams come from three mines, American Coal’s New Future and New Era mines, both of Galatia; and KenAmerica Mine of Kentucky. The winners will travel to Morgantown, W.Va., on Sept. 20 to face off against the winners of the East and West regional contests.
Wirth said the contests are used to help enhance the training that current fire brigades already have to be used in the case of an emergency.
“Murray Energy believes in being very proactive in protecting our employees and our property,” said Wirth. “We establish and maintain top-notch fire brigade teams, because it’s very hard work and can be hazardous during the unlikely case of an actual event. These teams really have to know what they’re doing.”
In the Coal Mine Training Center, the teams raced against the clock and each other to complete a number of stations and problems, including lifelike fire scenarios. Teams were timed and checked for accuracy by a judge for a total team score.
“The teams go through intense training all year, and this competition is a culmination of that training,” said Wirth. “Murray Energy has spent and will continue to spend millions of dollars per year on fire protection, in both training and maintaining high tech equipment, because we care about our employees and our property. Our employees are our greatest asset and we want to make sure we can train them to the best standards.”
The RLC Coal Mine Training Center is often used for mine rescue and training drills for several occupational certificates and degrees for RLC students. The facility opened in the fall of 2009, with the Mine Rescue and Fire Training Facility following in 2010, thanks to a $2.7 million grant from the federal and state governments.
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