60 Years of Mine Rescue
June 10, 2017 marks the 60th anniversary of the Northwest Territories and Nunavut Mine Rescue Competition. In 1957 the mines were federally regulated; and fortunately for us Steve Homulos and Fred Dunn saw the need to bring mine rescue competitions to the north. September 1957 hosted four teams, including three gold mines from the Yellowknife area and one uranium mine from Great Bear Lake. This year eight teams are expected to participate in the 60th anniversary competition, including one from northern Ontario. The winners will go on to compete in Fernie, BC where they will compete against winning teams from Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Yukon and the Northwestern United States.
Mine rescue in the Northwest Territories and Nunavut has always stood apart. It is one of few mine rescue programs that was developed proactively instead of reactively to a catastrophic event. It also accommodates both surface and underground competitions, where as some other jurisdictions only offer underground. When you ask competitors what really stands this competition apart, the answer is quite simple: cooperation. In the days leading up to the big competition, the teams gather in Yellowknife to train together. Each team brings a skill set or topic to instruct, others may bring in a formal instructor at their own cost to share valuable knowledge with the other teams. All the teams work together to collectively increase the skill level of all teams before going to battle for the coveted trophy and bragging rights on competition day.
On June 10, 2017 come out to the Yellowknife Multiplex arena and field house parking lots to watch the skill of our Mine Rescue Teams and enjoy the Chamber of Mines BBQ. The conviction, training and skill these teams have ensures confidence by all miners that should something happen, they will be rescued. DG