Moranbah North geotechnical engineer Rebecca Blines had never participated in a mines rescue competition before Queensland’s QMRS Memorial Competition in May.
Now she finds herself preparing for the national underground rescue competition, one of two women tackling the challenge in what is believed to be a first.
Ms Blines was part of an inexperienced composite team that placed second at the QMRS Memorial Competition and qualified for the nationals when they subsequently placed fourth at EK Healy.
The composite team included people from four different mine sites and was led by QMRS trainer Leith Luckel.
“To go forward and compete in the nationals as a composite team is really exciting,” Ms Blines said. “It’s been great to meet new people, form friendships and learn the value of true teamwork.”
The composite team also included Ashley Davies from Glencore’s Oaky North mine.
“This will be the first time in our knowledge that not one but two women are competing in the national competition,” chief assessor Ray Smith from the Queensland Mines Rescue Service said.
“Our archives show there hasn’t been one before.”
The other Queensland teams competing this week will be EK Healy winners Grosvenor, second-place getters Moranbah North and Kestrel, who placed third.
They will face a composite team from the Newcastle region, Illawarra South 32’s Appin Pink, Centennial’s Springvale and Whitehaven’s Narrabri.
The competition is being held at Grosvenor mine. It was previously planned for North Goonyella mine, however an underground fire recently broke out at that site.
Ms Blines said mines rescue training covered invaluable skills in first response, fire fighting, gas management, casualty extrication, inrush and outburst response, as well as operating under a breathing apparatus in the event of a mine emergency.
“Competing in a rescue competition allows you to apply those skills in various scenarios, which really tests and challenges your knowledge in a more stressful environment,” she said.
“At the end of the day, whether it be at work or at home, trained rescue members have the ability to respond and provide assistance at an accident or if someone has been injured. It has been an invaluable experience for me.”