Recurring annual training and certification regime
If the job of a Mine Rescue Officer (MRO) at times seems like a never-ending circle of training – training mine rescue volunteers and being trained themselves, that’s because it’s true.
The MROs recently took a break from training volunteers to gather in Sudbury for policy and planning meetings, as well as a 40-hour advanced first aid course.
The MROs will now face a recurring annual training and certification regime under Ontario Mine Rescue’s Instruction Quality Management Plan, says General Manager Ted Hanley.
The plan will be under the direction of Chief Mine Rescue Officer Shawn Rideout, and ensures not only that all MROs are certified to the same standard, but that they received the refresher and maintenance training necessary to provide quality instruction to volunteers, says Hanley.
Though MROs do not certify mine rescue volunteers in first aid, officers are trained to the instructor level to assess and assist volunteers in first aid as part of their regular mine rescue training.
Under the plan, officers will have a minimum of three training and certification windows each year – typically in February, as well as the week before the Provincial Competition in June, and September, says Hanley. The complete suite of required training will recur over a three-year period.
The training plan not only covers required refresher and maintenance training, like first aid, but training due to legislative changes, as well as the introduction of new equipment.
Last fall MROs received Working at Heights safety training, a recent requirement under the Occupational Health and Safety Act, which also served as an important link to training with the GripTech Rope Rescue System.
In 2014, officers received ‘Train the Trainer’ certification in the use and instruction of Hurst eDraulic extrication equipment before the new tools were introduced to Ontario Mine Rescue.
Ontario Mine Rescue also offers support to officers who seek to improve technical safety and rescue abilities on their personal time, including additional academic training or education in health and safety, adult education and other topics relevant to the work.
Becoming a Mine Rescue Officer is not the end of a person’s participation in mine rescue training, says Hanley. “Those who dedicate a portion of their career to the duties of a Mine Rescue Officer are held to an extremely high standard, for which we all should be thankful.”