Mine emergency response development (MERD) training exercises were authorized in the Mine Rescue Teams regulation 30CFR 49.60(b) as a way to satisfy the 2006 Mine Improvement and New Emergency Response Act of 2006requirement for all coal mine rescue teams to participate in two local mine rescue contests (MRCs) per year. In April 2008, eight mine rescue teams participated in a combined MERD and MRC at the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, Office of Mine Safety and Health Research, Safety Research Coal Mine (SRCM) located in Pittsburgh, PA. In 2009, two combined MERDs/MRCs were conducted one with six teams at the Mining Technology and Training Center (MTTC) in Ruff Creek, PA, and the other with five teams at the National Mine Health & Safety Academy Mine Simulation Lab (MSL) in Beckley, WV. These three MERDs were designed to fulfill the requirements necessary for consideration as MRCs. However, the exercises varied in the use of command structure and personnel. MERDs and MRCs were developed for very different reasons, but both are important to learning and emergency response preparedness of mine rescue teams. The purpose of an MRC is to build teamwork, train, and demonstrate the level of skills required to respond to a mine emergency, with a winning team chosen based on performance. The purpose of a MERD is to improve crisis management skills for the individuals making critical decisions in the command center (CC). These two purposes can be in conflict unless accommodations are made to satisfy the training needs of both the teams and the CC personnel. This paper describes the three MERDs and explores whether these exercises can be successfully used to enhance mine rescue team capabilities while meeting the requirements for MRCs.