Ontario Mine Rescue attends international conference

Friday, December 13, 2019

Canada represented at largest IMRB conference ever

Three men attending conferenceMore than 500 mine rescue delegates, including Ontario Mine Rescue (OMR), from 24 nations attended the ninth biennial conference of the International Mines Rescue Body (IMRB) this past September in Bogota, Colombia.

The conference, titled ‘Together We Save Lives,’ was not only the first in South America, but the largest IMRB conference ever.

Ted Hanley, vice president of Ontario Mine Rescue, Shawn Rideout, Chief Mine Rescue Officer, and Shawn Shail, Kirkland Lake Mine Rescue Officer, represented OMR at the event. 

Hanley and Jean Proulx, of Service Sauvetage Minier du Quebec, represented Canada at the IMRB executive meeting where delegates agreed to absorb the International Mines Rescue Competition (IMRC) as a part of the organization to ensure continuity in rules and standards.

The original initiative for the IMRB came from Poland in the aftermath of the 1998 tragedy that claimed the lives of six Polish mine rescuers. Subsequent conferences in Poland laid the foundation for the IMRB which held its inaugural conference in Johannesburg, South Africa, in 2003.

Delegates visited underground coal mines, attended workshops, and heard presentations on topics such as portable refuge stations, health risks for first responders, women in mine rescue, and effective emergency response.

Presentations are available for download at minerescue.org/imrb-colombia

The IMRB conference will return to Australia in 2021. The 2005 conference was held in Sydney. 

OMR hosted the IMRB in Niagara Falls and Sudbury in 2013.