Wambo’s Winning Streak

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Back Row L-R: Alaster Wylie (General Manager Mines Rescue/Regulation & Compliance) Michael Millgate, Dave Malone (C), Matt Bailey (VC), Chad Kuosman, Dave Layzell MP. Front row L-R: Trent Humby, Brett Stevens.

Four mines rescue teams faced a series of simulated events in both underground and surface environments at the Hunter Valley Mines Rescue competition on Friday, June 23. Teams applied their specialist training towards search and rescue, first aid and firefighting scenarios as well as completing a theory component.

Peabody’s Wambo team were named winners of the 2023 event, continuing the winning streak they have maintained since 2019 which was only interrupted in 2020 when competitions were cancelled due to COVID restrictions. Integra Underground were runners up with Kurt Bereza taking home the coveted Wayne Wallace shield for Best Captain.

The Wambo team’s exceptional performance throughout the day also included winning the first aid scenario and Captain David Malone and team member Michael Millgate tying for the highest marks for the theory component.

On receiving the winning shield, David thanked Hunter Valley Mines Rescue for coordinating a great event and acknowledged the efforts of all competitors and in particular those of his team.

“The win is really a reflection of how the team’s different skills, experience, capabilities and knowledge came together – every team member played a key role in our success.

“Safety training is a crucial part of our work at Peabody, and the team is committed to Mines Rescue. I am proud of our achievement and look forward to representing Wambo mine and the Hunter again this year at the Australian competition. As always, we’d like to thank Peabody management for their support and allowing us time to train and prepare.”

Peabody’s Australian President Jamie Frankcombe commended the team for securing victory number 13 out of the previous 15 years of the regional competition.

“This a remarkable achievement from the Wambo Mines Rescue Team in a highly competitive arena.

“Safety is a core value at Peabody and these competitions help ensure we have absolute confidence in our skills and preparedness for critical safety situations.”

“I’m extremely proud of our Wambo team for this exceptional result and all of our volunteer mines rescue teams for taking on these extra duties for the wellbeing of their colleagues.”

The primary purpose of Mines Rescue is to provide emergency response to the NSW coal mining industry in the case of an emergency. Thankfully, major incidents requiring brigade response are limited. Events like these allow brigade members to practice and hone their skills in preparation for the unfortunate circumstance where they may be called upon.

Matt Enright, Hunter Valley Regional Manager for NSW Mines Rescue, said that these competitions are important days in the Mines Rescue calendar.

“These events allow us to hone and test the skills and capabilities of our underground brigades under pressure. While we congratulate the efforts of the teams here today, the real winners of these days are the industry, its people and our communities,” he said.

“What often goes unnoticed is how often our brigade members demonstrate safety leadership in the course of their everyday life due to their training. We hear of so many stories where our brigades have been first responders for workplace injuries or in our communities such as at sporting games, car accidents, and so on where they are often managing incidents and facilitating first aid both for minor and some more serious injuries until emergency responses arrive.

“It should never be underestimated how much of a difference each and every one of our brigade members can make, and do make, to our industry and beyond,” he concluded.

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