MERITS is an extension of previous work that compiled a knowledge base relevant to mine disaster management via interviews, analysis of literature, reviews of past events, and observations of mock mine disasters. Findings from prior research found a need for an alternative method of command center training. This new computer simulation is being used to train emergency command center personnel to effectively manage an underground mine fire. Modeled after training simulations developed for other industries (e.g. to address nuclear accidents, chemical spills, evacuations, etc.) MERITS simulates underground and surface events related to the disaster, It exposes the user to events that typically occur during a mine emergency, such as lack of information and miscommunication. It also presents trainees with issues that must be addressed, such as making provisions for briefing news media and victims' families, ordering needed supplies, interfacing with Government enforcement agencies, and housing mine rescue teams. The outcome of the scenario is determined by the users' decisions and their emergency response plans.
Launa G. Mallett, NIOSH Pittsburgh Research Laboratory, Cochrans Mill Rd. P.O. Box 18070, Pittsburgh PA 15236-0070