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Oscar 1 shines at Mine Rescue comp
CFA’s Oscar 1 Emergency Response Brigade again successfully competed against the professional company mine rescue teams at the 22nd Victorian Mine Rescue Competition held in Bendigo 29-31 August.
Oscar 1 won the Search and Rescue event and was placed fifth overall. North Parkes (NSW) won the overall competition.
The event was held at CFA Huntly Training Ground on Friday (BA Practical & Theory exercises and Welcome Ceremony) and the Fosterville Gold Mine on Saturday and Sunday (Search & Rescue, Rope Rescue, First Aid, Firefighting, Team Skills and Team Challenge).
The Fosterville mine is an operational mine with 25km of tunnels up to 800m below ground level; it’s 1 in 7 gradient tests the leg muscles. The Firefighting and Search & Rescue Events were held about 100 metres underground.
Ten teams competed; six from Victoria, Crocodile Gold from Fosterville and Stawell, Mandalay Resources Costerfield, CFA Oscar 1, CGT Ballarat, Estate Services Yallourn and four from NSW, Cadia Valley, Cowel, Peak Gold and North Parks.
Oscar 1 is the only volunteer Mine Rescue Team in Australia, set up originally to provide rescue capability in the abandoned Central Victorian Goldfields.
Its small group of underground responders were put to the test as they lost five members to other teams (their employers): two who were team managers (Costerfield and Ballarat), one the Team Captain of Fosterville, and two who were the scenario designers and chief adjudicators of two of the events.
Oscar 1 member Adam Stonham, the Safety Officer at Costerfield mine, put together the mine's first rescue team this year and they finished eighth. Fellow brigade member Rob Marsh brought the Ballarat team home in third place.
CFA Executive Director of Operational Training & Volunteerism Lex de Man attended on Sunday and was escorted underground by Oscar 1 Brigade Captain David Priest to see the Firefighting exercise, meet CFA volunteers and generally see what one CFA brigade does that is different to the rest of CFA’s surface dwellers.
Captain David Priest said, "the Annual Mine Competition provides the opportunity to test our brigade against the professional mine rescue teams, to see where our skill levels are, exchange ideas, learn new techniques and developments from the unique gathering of industry experts, and generally confirm that we are there with the rest of the teams. Participating builds our credibility in the industry. Oscar 1 is respected around Australia by other mine rescue teams."
Story by Oscar 1 member and retired Operations Officer Alan Hughson