Team members work together to extinguish a fire as part of the fire task segment during the surface portion of the National Western Mine Rescue Competition on Sept. 12.

Mine Rescue event celebrates 100 years

The annual National Western Regional Mine Rescue Competition was held on Sept. 11 and 12 in Fernie.

Fernie hosted the 12th biennial National Western Regional Mine Rescue Competition on Sept. 11 and Sept. 12, bringing in a total of 18 teams for the occasion.

The competition is split into two distinct categories, surface and underground competitions, allowing teams to showcase a variety of skills.

The underground portion of the competition was held at the Fernie Memorial Arena on Sept. 11, while the surface competition was at the Public Works Yard on Sept. 12

The surface competition saw 10 teams compete in 10 different tasks, including a rope task, fire task and a written exam. It was a long day for the teams, with most arriving on site at 5 a.m. to prep for the day and leaving just after 5 p.m.

An awards ceremony was held at the Fernie Memorial Arena on Saturday evening to celebrate the teams, all of which won prior competitions to qualify for this one. The Dominion Diamond Ekati team, from Yellowknife NWT, won the underground competition, placing first in four tasks and receiving best overall. The Teck Elkview team won the surface competition, leading with two task wins and the best overall.

According to Mayor Mary Giuliano, who chaired the organizing committee, the event went smoothly, and they were grateful for the support they received from the city.

“We are very proud of our local winners but congratulations go to all the teams. They are all champs for the work they do in mine safety,” she said.

This event marked the 100th anniversary of mining competitions in the Fernie area.