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Emergency Preparedness - Mining rescue solutions worker checks situation

Emergency Preparedness

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Underground Rescue: Equipped for Every Emergency

Every mine is different and yet they all have one thing in common: if an emergency occurs, the goal is to get everyone to safety quickly. Mining rescue plans depends on a variety of factors including whether the site involves an open-pit mine, above or underground rescue, metal/non-metal mines. The mining rescue equipment and solutions you use will be as unique as your own mine.

Emergency Escape

Emergency escape man in mining

Safe escape plan in an emergency

Within the scope of the risk assessment, the specific risks associated with a particular method of mining and the type of resource mined must be analyzed. This assessment forms the basis for the escape and rescue concepts to be used in the mine.

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Solutions for escape and rescue concepts in the mining industry overview mining

Solutions for escape and rescue concepts in the mining industry

Application and functionality of Draeger Oxy 3000/6000

Application and functionality of Dräger Oxy 3000 / 6000

Draeger mine refuge chamber solutions interview chamber

Dräger Mine Refuge Chamber Solutions

7 steps to an optimum emergency escape concept

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Know and understand the situation and conditions

  • Mining method/mined product
  • Geographical location
  • Official and corporate regulations (SOPs)
  • Number of miners (incl. contractors) per shift
  • Length and condition of rescue routes
  • Location of escape shafts and fresh-air bases
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Take natural hazards into account

  • Temperature/humidity
  • Water ingress/flooding
  • Dust development
  • Mine gas/firedamp
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Identify activities involving risks

  • Fueling/handling of hazardous substances (fluids/transportation)
  • Storage of explosives
  • Blasting
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Account for unexpected incidents

  • Ventilation failure
  • Gas eruption and leakages
  • Sparks/friction
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Describe potential hazards/risks

  • Mechanical obstacles
  • Oxygen deficiency
  • Fire
  • Explosion
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Perform a risk assessment

  • List, assess and prioritize hazards/risks
  • Check risks
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Develop an emergency response plan

  • Prepare an emergency plan
  • Provide emergency equipment
  • Ensure appropriate emergency training

Effective Escape Planning


Underground - Self-escape or rescue mission?

If a serious incident occurs underground, a decision must be made within minutes of whether self-escape is possible or whether a mines rescue team should be deployed. How is that decision made?

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Self-escape in Coal Mines

Self-escape means: Victims of incidents are able to get themselves to safety and back to the surface without any additional help. This is almost always the case when emergency escape distances are short enough to be managed on foot. Keeping in mind that the escape route has to be open. So, when an incident occurs, there is no flooding, collapses or rockfalls blocking the way. Read on to find out more about examples of self-escape underground and the appropriate methods and equipment.


If coal catches fire: it's time to get out – fast!

Depending on the kind of coal being mined and the conditions at the face, a fire can take hold fast, intensify, and burn for a long time. Due to this, self-espace is the usual and best option.
In the following graphics, we show you what self-escape plans look like around the world’s coal mines – and how South Africa handles exceptions.

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Draeger Charge Air: Mine Escape System Training Video

Sufficient breathable air

When escape routes are long, a switch to compressed air breathers may make sense, but limited air capacity is a drawback. Breathing air cylinders can be quickly and simply replenished at refilling stations like the Dräger ChargeAir.

Emergency Response

Emergency response equipment firefighting team at mining entry

Emergency response and mines rescue

When an alarm goes off, everything runs at top speed: from the search for source of the alarm to the communication with the emergency control center. Safety management must quickly decide what options within the mine emergency plan are viable and, if necessary what escape or rescue measures for effected mine workers should be taken. High levels of knowledge and experience are needed, as well as the optimal provision of reliable safety and rescue equipment.

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Deep mining rescue vehicle

Deep Mining

Mines change and evolve. They become longer and deeper, more complex. These changes need to taken into account, when engineering new processes but it is also a challenge for mines rescue teams. In case of a mine emergency, they gain an overview of the situation, evaluate potential risks, examine different scenarios and then decide – based on the specific mine emergency response plan – on the optimal rescue mission.

Deep deeper deepest mining infographic

Deep, deeper, deepest

The international trend of “deep mining” continues: Increasingly deeper seams are being mined, with the result that escape and rescue routes are becoming longer.

This has implications for the mine emergency response concept: Strategic planning of fresh air stations, refill stations for breathing air and refuge chambers are becoming more important. It is obvious that: Mines rescue teams have to travel longer distances to reach the incident site with only a limited amount of time available.

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Challenges of mines rescue in expanding mine operations
Challenges of Mines Rescue in Expanding Mine Operations

Success begins with getting rescue teams to the action quickly and safely. As mining operations develop, the underground workings extend farther from the shaft or portal, and become more complex as they continue to expand. Travel distances and time increase.



Portrait no fear of great depths kent armstrong
Portrait: No Fear of Great Depths

Kent Armstrong, Global Business Development Manager of Mining, is something of an institution in this industry. He has been working in the mining industry for 42 years.



MRV 9000

Mines Rescue Vehicle - Dräger MRV 9000

The Dräger MRV 9000 is the answer in an ever-changing mining environment. Innovative and customer driven – this Mine Rescue Vehicle is a unique solution in the field of mines rescue worldwide.

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Mine Safety Solutions

Your safety, our solutions - perfectly linked together.

Mining Safety Equipment team goes into mine

Mine Equipment

We develop mining equipment to produce innovative solutions to meet even the latest demands.

Get in touch with Dräger


Dräger South Africa (Pty) Ltd.

Johannesburg: 2 Ruacana Street, Waterfall Commercial District, (cnr Beatty Street), Buccleuch, 2090

+27(0)11 059 4200

Postal Address: P.O. Box 4676 Rivonia, 2128 Republic of South Africa  

Dräger South Africa (Pty) Ltd.

Cape Town:  Unit 7 on London, 7 London Circle Brackengate Business Park Brackenfall, 7561 

+27(0)21 552 6713

Postal Address: P.O. Box 3677 Tygervalley 7536

Dräger South Africa (Pty) Ltd.

Durban: 17 Thynk Industrial Park Cnr Brickworks and Queen Nandi Drive, Briardene, Durban North, 7561 

+27(0)31 812 7900

Postal Address: P.O. Box 40554 Redhill 4071