Florida Public Safety Institute hosts Southeast's first surface mine rescue competition

March 5, 2018

Sign welcoming mine safety participantsEnjoy this video.

Tallahassee, Fla. (March 5, 2018)—The Florida Public Safety Institute hosted the first surface mine rescue training and competition in the southeastern United States last week. The Surface Mining Emergency Response Training and Competition, which ran from February 26 through March 1, gave miners, emergency responders and safety workers the chance to test and hone their skills in realistic emergency response scenarios, receive additional training, and be recognized for their contributions to safety and emergency response efforts.

Nine teams from mines in Florida, Alabama, Tennessee and Nevada partipated. The action began on Monday with training sessions and demonstrations on topics such as rope rescue, first aid and medical response to trauma. The competitive phase included written exams, field exercises that challenged teams with a hands-on rescue scenario, and tests of practical first aid skills.

2 team members working on rescueJeremy Stalnaker, a safety specialist with the Mosaic Company's Wingate Creek Mine in Manatee County, was at FPSI with a six-person emergency response team. Stalnaker, who is the team’s training coordinator, said the training scenarios team members faced during the competition are much better than those he can provide in-house—especially since the team’s performance was being evaluated by expert judges.

“It’s great to have fresh sets of eyes pointing out strengths and weaknesses,” said Stalnaker. “The skills they have learned here they will take back to the mine and pass on to others.”

Wingate Creek Mine rescue teamStalnaker explained that mine employees volunteer to be part of the emergency response team and train together about one day a month on their time off.

“It’s good for them to get a reward like participating in this competition, and it’s also a good team building exercise.”

The Combination Champion for the full event was the Vulcan Black team, one of two teams from Vulcan Materials Company mines in Tennessee. The nine U.S. Department of Labor Mine Safety and Health Administration judges who evaluated the teams represented Alabama, Florida, Kentucky, Tennessee, Virginia and South Carolina.

The Florida Public Safety Institute is part of Tallahassee Community College and is located in Gadsden County. The mining coordinator at FPSI is Karen Miller.

For information, contact Karen Miller at MILLERKA@tcc.fl.edu or (850) 201-7689.