Earlier this month, Coeur Silvertip’s mine rescue team decided to put their skills to the test and compete in the 63rd annual Provincial Mine Rescue Competition in Kimberly, British Columbia.
A few of the Mine Rescue team members have competed in mine rescue competitions before, but with Silvertip being a relatively new operation, this was an exciting new opportunity for the site to compete together as a team. Silvertip assembled the best of the best from their larger mine rescue team and took seven team members to the competition.
“Myself and the team captain, Joe Koropecki, were the only ones with past competition experience,” stated team Coach and Coordinator, Jesse DeBodt. “We took a new team with us this year. Each team member has great skills in different areas of mine rescue, which helped make us a great team.”
The mine rescue competition included challenges that required the teams to have experience in fire rescue, extraction, rope rescue, first aid, toxic gases, and more. The competition not only included physical challenges, but also a written test for teams to complete. The highlight of the competition is the underground rescue scenario challenge. Teams are scored on a variety factors throughout the competition.
This year’s underground scenario challenge included multiple rescue response components such as, toxic gases, missing miners, first aid, and securing the accident scene. This all-encompassing scenario is meant to reflect a potential real-life scenario. It pushes competing mine rescue teams to use teamwork and their skills to finish in 65 minutes or less.
The day-long competition closed with an awards ceremony. The Coeur Silvertip team was awarded the Keith Bracewell Memorial trophy for the Best Underground Team in British Columbia for the obstacle and recovery event. DeBodt attributes his team’s success to their commitment to training and their family-like dynamics.
“I’m incredibly proud of my team and what we were able to accomplish. I hope that we can inspire more people to get involved with mine rescue – it truly brings a work family together,” says DeBodt.
DeBodt also noted that this accomplishment wouldn’t have been possible without the support of the entire Silvertip mine site. Everyone onsite managed to pitch-in one way or another - whether it was moving gear for the team, constructing a mock mine for practice, or allowing team members dedicated practice time – every person helped make this achievement happen.