The mine’s fire brigade has seen many positive changes so far this year. Every other month, the members are training with their crew to practice firefighting. The priorities of this team are personal safety, fire suppression, fire containment, and asset preservation. In the unlikely event of a fire, they have fifteen minutes to mitigate the flame before regulators must be notified, which is why their focus on training is key.
The fire brigade currently utilizes on-site fire training props, including a man trip and a forty-foot storage container. In addition, they utilize training props at Rend Lake College. Their training includes hose management, self-contained breathing apparatus use, and various foam applications and appliances.
In addition to proactive training, there have also been several updates to equipment. Fire trailer #1 has been re-fabricated to carry over 5,000 feet of various hoses, a greater amount of foam, and additional appliances and foam application tools.
The members of the fire brigade are volunteers who feel passionate about protecting the mine, the business that enables them to feed their families.
Each shift includes at least 12 members and a captain to lead the team’s operations. Every member is outfitted with a full set of gear. There are currently 40 members of the fire brigade, and they plan to grow the team in coming years.
“We view it as saving more than just the mine. This is our livelihood, our memories, and our future.”
-Cole Elder, Fire Brigade Chief