June 16, 2024 9:17 PM

Wambo Wins Underground Comp


One of the rescue scenarios that required mines rescue teams to extradite a wounded miner from underneath a transport vehicle.

They might have been simulated rescue scenarios but the atmosphere was fiercely intense as five underground mines rescue teams were pushed to their limits for the annual Hunter Valley Mines Rescue competition in Singleton last Friday.

With ‘lives’ on the line, teams to direct, a stop watch ticking away with every decision and the unforgiving and critical eye of assessors, the competition was definitely no walk in the park.

Mines Rescue Teams from Integra, Ashton, Wambo, Narrabri and a Barbarian team made from an open team of mines rescue personnel, competed in seven categories, three of which were in the simulated underground area at the Mines Rescue Station in Singleton.

Wambo, who have won the competition a significant number of times, were the final winners.  New members of the team were pleased they could carry on the tradition of team members before them.

They will now go on to represent New South Wales at the Australian competition in Queensland in October.

Wambo team captain Mathew Bailey said it was a great feeling to have won this year’s competition and have all the hard work and training completed by the team at Wambo recognised.

“I’m really proud of the efforts and commitment shown by every individual team member and my thanks to them for putting it all into practice on the day.

“At the end of the day, the skills we develop and the training that we do is to ensure we can do everything in our power to prevent injuries and save the lives of our mates underground in a real emergency, and there’s nothing more important than that.

The primary purpose of Mines Rescue is to provide emergency response to the NSW coal mining industry. Events like these allow brigade members to practice and hone their skills in preparation for the unfortunate circumstance where they may be called upon.

Mines Rescue Regional Manager, David Connell, said the 2021 Hunter Valley Underground Mines Rescue Competition was an ideal opportunity for brigades to come together and showcase their safety expertise.

‘It is critical that we acknowledge the dedication and commitment of our competing brigades and my team on the training they provide to these members through the year, but also in designing such a challenging competition format.

“The competition allows us to simulate the conditions and pressure of real-life emergencies and put the unique skills of our brigades to the test. It also allowed us an opportunity to identify any training areas that may require additional focus to ensure we maintain the highest possible standard of competency,’ he concluded.

Facts about NSW Mine Rescue Brigade Members

  • There are 461 voluntary brigade members across the NSW coal industry
  • Minimum 5 percent industry dedicated to emergency response (1 in 20 underground workers)
  • Initial ten-day induction training required for all new recruits
  • Six training days required per year for all brigade members
  • A large percentage of brigade members progress into more senior mining roles