Levitt-Safety Blog

The first Canadian International Student Mine Rescue Competition

Heidi LevittCo-CEOFebruary 25, 2020

The first Canadian International Student Mine Rescue Competition took place February 20 and 21 at the University of British Columbia's Vancouver campus.

underground mine resuce competition rescuing victim from a mine

The competition brought mine rescue teams from around the world to compete in various areas of mine rescue including:

  • underground obstacle and recovery
  • triage first aid
  • fire
  • BG4 technician, and
  • a written exam.

Mine rescue and safety is a cornerstone of Levitt-Safety's business, so sponsoring this event and supplying the student teams with their personal protective equipment made perfect sense.

“It was such a great experience to organize an event like this. We had so much fun putting it all together and it was unreal to watch the student teams face the challenges and do so well” said project team lead Jillian Newell. “The event couldn’t have been so successful without the great support of our industry partners! A huge thank you goes out to Levitt-Safety for supplying our student teams with all the required PPE!”

Mine rescue teams from UBC, the University of Alberta, Laurentian University in Sudbury, Ontario, and the Colorado School of Mines competed in several challenges.

"It's teaching you how to face problems that you've probably never faced, work together and have leadership," Newell explained to CIM Magazine.

student mine rescue competition firefighting skills test

The Challenges

Each challenge was given a strict time limit and the teams had to complete as much of the task as possible within the time frame.

Safety in these challenges is critical, as the tests mimic real-life mine scenarios, and teams were marked on their ability to ensure team safety.

Underground obstacle and recovery:

This challenge tested the team’s ability to work together in an emergency response scenario using a mock-mine. The team wore full BG4 breathing apparatus. The teams had to explore the mine, mitigate risks and recover trapped miners.

Obstacles included loose ground, flooding, smoke and hazardous gases were present within the mine.

The teams had to work with surface coordinators to ensure the safety of the team and those underground.

First aid triage:

This challenge tested the teams’ ability to stabilize an emergency scene with multiple causalities. The challenge required practicing triage first aid with an emphasis on prioritizing patients, delegating team members efficiently and performing first aid treatment.

team in mining competition testing their fire fighting skills

Firefighting skills:

Teams worked with Vancouver fire department to use firefighting skills including live fires, foam generators, working in smoke and hose drills.

BG4 breathing apparatus technician:

One member from each team tested their ability to bench test a BG4 apparatus. To increase the difficulty of the challenge there were broken or missing pieces that needed to be installed and removed. The technician had to identify them and have the BG4 pass a bench test.

bench testing

Written exam:

This required teams to test their theoretical knowledge of mine rescue with topics including:

  • mine rescue protocols
  • procedures
  • hazardous gases
  • fire knowledge, and
  • rescue equipment.

The University of British Columbia mine rescue team won overall, with Laurentian University winning the underground challenge.

How was this Student Mine Rescue Competition possible?

A lot of planning went into this weekend, particularly the dedication from Jillian Newell, Project Team Lead; Jamie Abels, Competitor and Volunteer Coordinator; and Harm Sangra, Logistics, Policy and Legal Coordinator.

Without these three individuals, the volunteers who sacrificed a gorgeous weekend in Vancouver to help out and sponsors like Levitt-Safety that covered the costs associated with creating and hosting the competition, this one-of-a-kind learning opportunity would not be possible.

group of mining students fist bumping during the Canadian International Student Mine Rescue Competition

*Photos supplied by and used with permission from Jillian Newell.