Mining Publication: Evaluation of a Signaling and Warning System for Underground Mines
Underground mines rely on alarm systems, such as stench gas, audible or visual alarms, pager phones, telephones, and messengers to warn miners of a fire or other emergency. These systems are often slow, unreliable, and limited in mine coverage. This report describes the evaluation of a wireless signaling and warning system for underground mines. This system is applicable to both coal and noncoal mines. The work was conducted by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health in cooperation with TeleMagnetic Signalling Systems (TSS) under Cooperative 3 Research and Development Agreement No. BOM-CRDA-6200-0119. A TSS wireless ultra-low-frequency electromagnetic signaling system was installed at the Experimental Mine at Lake Lynn Laboratory near Fairchance, Fayette County, PA. A commercial smoke sensor was interfaced to a remote portable transmitter, and the alarm of the sensor was used to trigger the central evacuation and paging transmitter system during experimental mine fires. The underground/surface receivers flashed cap lamps and activated remote devices, such as strobe lights, within 30 to 40 s after the encoded signal was received. Evaluation results showed full-mine coverage of the electromagnetic field and that the encoded signal was received at the farthest point underground and on the surface perimeter.