MSHA Demonstrating 'Great Escape' Evacuation System

The Mine Safety and Health Administration will demonstrate a new type of mine escape system tomorrow that is intended for use by miners who must evacuate quickly during an underground emergency. The demonstration will take place from 10 a.m. to noon at MSHA's Approval and Certification Center in Triadelphia, W.Va.

The agency said the rescue approach is called "The Great Escape" and was conceived and developed by MSHA's technical support division. "It provides miners a constant and uncontaminated supply of breathable air, along with a rapid, safe means of escape through an isolated, structurally protected escape path," according to yesterday's announcement. "The system, as designed, also could safely protect communications and tracking systems from fire and explosive forces."

Mark Skiles, MSHA's director of technical support, is scheduled to deliver an overview of the project, which would help underground mine operators comply with new responsibilities required by the MINER Act and contemplated in a new mine safety bill pending in Congress. For directions to the Triadelphia facility, call Amy Louviere at 202-693-9423.

The September/October 2007 bulletin of the Joseph A. Holmes Safety Association contained two articles about underground coal mines' escape training and drills with self-contained self rescuer devices in compliance with the MINER Act. The articles are on pages 18-21 of the bulletin (www.msha.gov/programs/hsapubs/2007/September-October2007.pdf).

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