Mining Publication: An Oral History Analysis of Mine Emergency Response
Beginning in 1991, scientists at the Pittsburgh Research Laboratory recorded interviews with individuals who are recognized as experts in mine emergency response. These 30 veterans related stories and observations from events experienced during as many as 47 years of response activities. Overall, the response veterans averaged 29 years of mine emergency response experience and 35 years of mining experience. Interviewees included representatives from mining companies, the United Mine Workers of America, and State and Federal agencies. Most of their comments dealt not so much with technical aspects of particular mine emergency responses, but rather the human side of more general topics, including preparedness, experience, people on-site, mine rescue teams, and decision-making. An analysis of their interviews provides an overview of lessons learned on-site at some of the largest mine disasters since the mid-1940s. This knowledge was gathered so that it could be provided to today's miners and to tomorrow's emergency response personnel. It is expected that the collective wisdom obtained can be used to help train new responders and guide those decisions that will have to be made on the scenes of future events.