Seven emergency response teams from across the region competed at the annual Hunter Valley Open Cut Mines Rescue competition on Friday 15 September 2023.
The day’s format included several simulation exercises to demonstrate knowledge and the use of equipment in realistic scenarios, including exercises to test hazard awareness, vertical rescue, first aid and firefighting.
The teams worked through a series of scenarios to test their emergency preparedness capabilities, teamwork and communication skills in a high-pressure environment. The events were designed to simulate situations teams would most likely face should they be called to respond to a real-life incident.
The Bengalla team were named overall winners at a presentation dinner following the event. Team captain, Sara Spokes, praised the efforts of the team.
“This team has a number of years of knowledge and experience. They worked hard and did a great job on the day. A special thanks to Mines Rescue for running this event. Twelve months of training is really confirmed by a day like this one. The competition ran very realistic scenarios that challenged us to put our skills to the test,” she said.
“Thank you also to Bengalla for supporting us throughout the year to attend training sessions and for the support shown during this event. It was good to challenge our skills on these exercises, but hope we never have to use them. Congratulations to all the other teams that participated, and we look forward to seeing you again in 2024.”
The primary purpose of Mines Rescue is to provide emergency response to the industry in the case of an emergency. Events like these allow emergency responders to test and hone their skills under pressure so they are ready to respond in the event of an incident on site.
Matt Enright, Regional Manager Hunter Valley Mines Rescue, said that it was great to witness both the incredibly honed skills, but also the camaraderie of the teams.
“The capabilities demonstrated today aren’t for glory; they possess the potential to be lifesaving, either onsite or within the community. Teams should take pride in knowing that their expertise doesn’t just benefit the industry—it ripples out into the broader community, making a lasting and positive impact.
“Events like these provide the perfect environment to put teams’ abilities to the test, pushing their boundaries. In these intense scenarios, all seven teams demonstrated that even amidst the most demanding circumstances, sound training and cool-head approaches were paramount.”