Mine rescue teams brace for competitions

Compass Minerals mine rescue team in action during 2023 competition

Mine rescuers will compete to showcase their expertise

Over 20 mine rescue teams across Ontario are gearing up to compete at the official mine rescue competitions taking place May 8 to 10. These competitions will demonstrate the emergency response skills and knowledge of volunteers from mines across the province, who undergo rigorous training throughout the year.

Organized by Ontario Mine Rescue (OMR), the competitions create simulated underground emergencies where teams are evaluated on firefighting skills, first-aid response, use of emergency equipment, and decision-making ability under stress. This extends to a written theory exam and an assessment of technicians who service vital emergency response equipment. 

Overall, competitions serve as intensive and educational learning opportunities for the teams, which ensures performance standards are maintained across the board. 

“We’re always finding new ways to challenge the teams,” says Shawn Rideout, Chief Mine Rescue Officer at Workplace Safety North, “the scenarios go from extracting casualties trapped in collapses to descending a mine shaft with rope gear. These live-action experiences are the best way to put their knowledge to the test.”

The public and media are welcome to attend district competitions to give communities a chance to see highly trained volunteers in action. Competitions will take place in:

  • Red Lake and Thunder Bay districts – NorWest Recreation Center, 
    Kakabeka Falls, May 9
  • Algoma District – Michipicoten Memorial CC, Wawa, May 8-9
  • Southern District – Hagersville Memorial Arena, Hagersville, May 9
    • Technicians, Best Western Hotel, Brantford, May 8
  • Sudbury and Onaping districts – Dr. Edgar Leclair Arena, Azilda
    • Sudbury District, May 8
    • Onaping District, May 9
  • Timmins and Kirkland Lake districts – Kirkland Lake Community Complex,  Kirkland Lake
    • Kirkland Lake, May 8
    • Timmins, May 9

The winner of each district will compete in the 2024 Provincial Competition, June 4 to 7, at Fort Williams Gardens Arena in Thunder Bay.

Ontario Mine Rescue (OMR), a part of Workplace Safety North (WSN), operates under the authority of the Occupational Health and Safety Act. Headquartered in Sudbury, OMR staffs, equips, and maintains a network of mine rescue stations across the province that ensure mines within a specified geographic area have adequate emergency response capability. 

OMR has trained and equipped thousands of volunteers who have fought fires, rescued injured personnel, and responded professionally to a wide variety of incidents in provincial mines over the past eight decades. 

The role of OMR is to deliver training to mine rescue responders, provide consultations, conduct audits, ensure WSN-owned equipment is maintained to manufacturers’ recommended standards, and provide technical consultation to mine operators during mine emergencies.

For more information, visit the OMR competition webpage.