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New Rescue for Gunnedah Region

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Mark D’Elboux, Western Regional Manager at Mines Rescue.

Mines Rescue has opened a training facility in Gunnedah to provide essential rescue and emergency training services to the local mining industry.

Attached to Mannion Drilling and Ultra Fleet premises on Alford Road Gunnedah, the facility includes a training room and practical exercise area that allow training in firefighting, confined space and vehicle extraction/stabilisation and first aid techniques.

Prior to 2020, this type of training would have been coordinated out of the Hunter Valley Mines Rescue station. Specialist trainers would travel to Gunnedah and Narrabri to conduct courses onsite.

The Gunnedah region’s five coal mines currently employ around 2,750 people in the production of coal. Demand for specialised training has grown which prompted Mines Rescue to establish a more permanent presence in the region.  

Mines Rescue appointed two local training officers to service the region in 2020 and today, training is conducted at the Alford Road facility or at mine sites as required.

Fire Training Chamber, Gunnedah Mines Rescue.

For example, there are around 30 brigade members at any given time from Narrabri Coal Operations where Mines Rescue deliver Certificate III in Emergency Response and Rescue underground training and approximately 75 Emergency Response Team members across Whitehaven’s open cut mines where they deliver Certificate III in Emergency Response and Rescue surface training.

“Similar to the Moolarben Mines Rescue station near Mudgee, we aim to offer training for Certificate III in Emergency Response and Rescue for both underground and surface operations, as well as first aid training, confined space and working safely at heights, vertical rescue and road crash rescue to name a few,” said Mark D’Elboux, Western Regional Manager at Mines Rescue.

Mines Rescue is committed to supporting the industry’s training needs in the long term and plans to include purpose-built features to the existing facility to enhance the training provided.

“Over the next couple of years, we will be working to have our fit for purpose facility completely kitted out with high quality training equipment and structures that simulate underground and surface working environments, working from heights and other industrial environments.” 

Gunnedah’s Mines Rescue practical exercise area.

Mark said there may also be an opportunity to put on a Cadet at the Gunnedah Mines Rescue station in the future: “The aim of the program is to employ young, keen and dedicated personnel to learn the skills and competencies of a Mines Rescue Training Officer with the objective of gaining industry employment on completion of their two year cadetship.”

It’s great to see the training facility up and running to not only provide registered training and qualifications to the Gunnedah and surrounding mining community, but to also continue building incident response capabilities in the region’s coal industry.

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