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Mining Museum hosts underground rescue display

Annual competition puts B.C.'s best mine rescuers to the test

Let the games begin - underground rescue games that is.

The most skilled mine rescue teams from throughout the province will pit their talents against one another on Saturday (June 6) to determine the best of the best.

The competition takes place at the BC Museum of Mining from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

The annual Mine Rescue Competition, hosted by the Ministry of Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources, was established 1917 to reduce fatality rates in B.C.'s Mines and display the B.C. mining industry's dedication to safe mine practices.

"Being a part of the Mine Rescue Competition is in line with our commitment to educate, inspire and entertain," said museum executive director Kirstin Clausen. "We commend the ministry staff for offering this program, not only as a spectator experience to the public, but for the potentially life saving experience the competition brings to anyone involved with emergency response.

The 2009 competition consists of an underground mine rescue, surface mine rescue and a three person first aid scenario, involving three team members who are scored based on standard St. John's First Aid training.

Mining experts will evaluate each challenge as teams work through a simulated mine environment, designed to recreate conditions they could face in an actual mine rescue situation.

"Competitors love an audience, and the games are free to the public," states a BC Mining Museum news release.

The competition is designed to test and evaluate the skills of trained response personnel. It is also an exercise in team building, as participants may one day be involved in mutual aid collaboration with their peers from other sectors of the industry.

A recent example of such an incident took place at Pavilion in Cash creek where a man buried for 14 hours was rescued with the assistance of Highland Valley Copper, winners of last years Surface Mine Rescue event.

While at the museum, spectators can also enjoy the museum's guided underground adventure tours and gold panning for the regular admission cost. Food and beverage services will be offered on site during the competition.

The BC Museum of Mining at Britannia Beach is home to what was once largest copper mine in the British Commonwealth. Now a National Historic Site, the venue consists of an underground tunnel dating back to 1912 and is a favoured location for film and television productions. The site is also a popular destination for B.C.'s school students and tourists seeking education and exploration.

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