HARRISBURG, IL (KFVS) - The sixth annual Mine Rescue & Skills Competition is coming to Southeastern Illinois College in Harrisburg, Illinois.
The brand new Mine Simulation Training Facility on SIC's Harrisburg campus will see its first use at this year's event, making the smoke exercises more realistic to an actual mine emergency situation.
The event will be held on Tuesday, June 13 and Wednesday, June 14.
The colleges held the grand opening ceremony on May 31, with tours of the new facility in operational mode complete with theatrical smoke and infrared and thermal imaging cameras.
The initial funding for the facility came from a state investment program meant to help make the coal industry more competitive -- a $220,000 Coal Competitiveness Grant from the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Development (DCEO).
According to SIC President Dr. Jonah Rice, the new facility will greatly compliment the current offerings for mine and fire rescue training at SIC, which are the burn tunnel, outdoor classroom, and smoke house.
"I've often said that the most important thing to come out of a coal mine is a coal miner," Rice said at the grand opening. "Safety is paramount, and SIC along with IECC take that safety training seriously. This new mine training facility with state of the art technology will take our training to new levels, to new goals for safety training in this noble profession and major economic force in our region."
More than 80 coal miners from around the region are expected to compete in a variety of safety and rescue exercises, which features competitions in first aid scenarios, equipment use, burn tower search and rescue, hose management, field search and rescue, and fire suppression. Trophies will be awarded each day to the top three teams upon completion of the competition.
Officials from Illinois Eastern Community Colleges – which administers all coal mining classes offered at SIC – as well as the Illinois Department of Natural Resources' Office of Mines and Minerals, the Mine Safety and Health Administration, and a large number of volunteers from SIC will all serve together as judges, guides and more to make this a successful event.
The event is hosted by SIC and partner Illinois Eastern Community Colleges (IECC).