Mining Publication: A Profile of Workers' Experiences and Preparedness in Responding to Underground Mine Fires
The purpose of this study was to determine mine workers' state of fire-fighting preparedness and the technology being used to detect and respond to underground coal mine fires. To investigate this problem, 214 underground coal miners were interviewed by U.S. Bureau of Mines researchers. Frequency distributions of workers' responses are presented in this report, along with segments of narrative accounts, to profile miners' fire-fighting capabilities. The data indicated that much variability exists from mine to mine and that there are several important changes operators may undertake in order to make miners better prepared to deal with fire underground: select appropriate sensors, establish and test a warning and communication protocol, construct a system capable of delivering hundreds of gallons of water per minute for sustained periods, institute formal fire preparedness audits, develop case studies of events that occur at an operation to use as teaching and assessment tools, and provide structured practice that can be incorporated into fire drills.