While efforts continue to make the nation’s coal mines safer after a spate of deadly accidents, those whose jobs entail rescuing trapped miners are in Morgantown this week boning up on their skills.

Eighteen regional mine rescue teams will participate in the Post 5 Mine Rescue Contest Wednesday (Aug. 2) and Thursday (Aug. 3) at Mylan Park.

The Mining Extension Department at West Virginia University, Post 5, U.S. Department of Labors Mine Safety and Health Administration District 3 and the West Virginia Office of MinersHealth, Safety and Training sponsor the annual competition.

The contest, which begins at 8 a.m. today, includes three events: mine rescue, bench and pre-shift.

The teams evaluate mock disaster situations and rescue surviving miners in a simulated underground mine emergency.

Bench contest teams are lead by a benchman, who tests a self-contained breathing apparatus worn by rescue team members when they go underground and corrects any problems the device may have.

In the pre-shift contest, individuals compete to show the most proficiency in pre-shift examination of coal mines.

The 18 rescue teams hail from West Virginia, Kentucky, Ohio and Pennsylvania. Individual coal companies send one or more teams to compete. While this event evokes friendly competition, officials stress that in actual mine disasters, these teams work together.

Rescue teams will be assigned the same emergency problem to solve. Teams are judged according to their procedures and speed. The simulated emergencies may involve missing miners, explosions, mine fires, roof collapse or a mine being inundated with water. Contestants evaluate the situation and then map out a plan of action.

WVU mine safety programs on the Net:www.mine.cemr.wvu.edu/

Participants are as follows:

Mine Rescue: Consol Energy, Blacksville No. 2 Mine; Consol Energy, Enlow Fork Mine; Consol Energy, McElroy Mine; Consol Energy, Robinson Run No. 95; Consol of Kentucky Inc., Consolidation Coal Co.; Consolidation Coal Co., Loveridge No. 22; Consolidation Coal Co., Shoemaker Mine; Eastern Associated Coal Corp., Federal No. 2 Team; Eastern Associated Coal Corp., Southern Appalachia; Eighty-Four Mining Co., Mine 84; Emerald Coal Resources, Emerald Mine; Massey Energy, East Kentucky Massey Energy; Massey Energy, Southern West Virginia Team; Pinnacle Mining Co.; Riverton, Blue; Riverton, Gold; and The Ohio Valley Coal Co., Powhatan No. 6

Bench: Bob Calhoun, Consol Pa. Coal Co.; Leroy Young, Consol of Kentucky Inc.; Ken Clarke, Eighty Four Mining Co.; Randy Bomback, Consol Energy; Chris Prater, Massey Energy; Nick Tipi, Consolidation Coal Co.; Mike Jude, Massey Energy; Richard Shockley, Consolidation Coal Co.; Jeff Beinoski, Consol Energy Inc.; Jason Detrick, Emerald Coal Resources; Jeremy McClung, Massey Energy; Dave Blakenship, Eastern Associated Coal; Kyle Blair, Eastern Associated Coal; David Rush, Consol Energy; Steve Miller, Massey Energy; Nick Marrs, Pinnacle Mining Co.; Emmit Cox, Emerald Mine Resources; Doug Wade, Consol Energy; Burt Matheny, Easter Associated Coal; Tom Bochna, Emerald Coal Resources; Bob Rohde, McElroy Coal Co.; Bob Volpe, Eighty Four Mining Co.; Sherman Goodwin, Consol Energy Inc.; Gene Menozzi, Consol Pa. Coal Co.; John Click, Massey Energy; Harry McGinnis, Eastern Associated Coal.

Pre-Shift: Bob Haines, Consolidation Coal Co.; Nathan Mounts, Massey Energy; Mitchel Bryan, Riverton; Kelvin Jolly, McElroy Mine Co.; Jamie McClaugherty, Massey Energy; Jim Aurednik, Massey Energy; Wayne Stafford, Eastern Associated Coal; Todd Marcum, Riverton; Charles Conn, Massey Energy; Dave Thearle, Emerald Coal Resources; Bill Reid, Consol Energy Inc.; Wayne Conaway, Consolidation Coal Co.; Mark Gouzd, Eastern Associated Coal; Jarrod Cisco, Riverton; Tom Bochna, Emerald Coal Resources; Dale Tiberie, Eighty Four Mining Co.; Mike Vaught, Massey Energy; Mark Jarasonek, Riverton; Richard Shickley, Consolidation Coal Co.; Paul Adkins, Massey Energy; Larry Tenney, Consol Energy Inc.; Adrian Gordon, Eighty Four Mining Co.; Jim Ponceroff, Consol Energy; Larry Cuddy, Consol Pa. Coal Co.