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Mine rescuers test their skills in 34th annual competition

The Westridge Mine Red Team shows how it would rescue a victim in an underground accident. The 'victim,' whose injuries are listed, is their trainer, Jeff Palmer of East Carbon.

Mine rescue teams from 11 coal mines in Utah, Montana, Colorado and New Mexico have converged on the College of Eastern Utah campus to compete in the 34th Annual Rocky Mountain Coal Mine Association contest.

The teams, all specially trained, are testing their skills against each other to demonstrate their proficiency at saving lives and property underground. Rescuers are the ones who go into a mine when everyone else is rushing to get out. They rely on each other and their equipment in rendering first aid, search and rescue, or fighting fires.

The events test each of these skills. First aid teams, for example, must treat a "victim" whose injuries are listed. They must be ready to show how to treat bleeding, broken bones, burns and other injuries - often in combination. Judges observe and keep score.

Other competitors have to troubleshoot and repair rescue equipment such as a breathing apparatus.

The events continue through Thursday, with an awards banquet scheduled Thursday night at the Price Elks Club.

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