The National Mining Association said there are more than two million mining jobs in the United States and mining safety is extremely important for keeping people employed and alive. The Murray Energy Corporation does its best to help miners prepare for the worst.
Miners volunteer to be on the Fire Brigade. They have to compete in regional competitions to make it to the finals at the WVU Simulated Mine.
Justin Barrington's team won the competition last year. He explains what it takes to compete.
"You start with a good group of men that can work together and know what it takes to pull this type of thing off," said Barrington. "And that's one thing that we have, all of these mines have the same quality men that volunteer for all of this. Good communication skills, and team work."
The WVU Simulated Mine is the perfect setting for the different activities in the Fire Brigade Competition.
"The training that we receive here is wonderful," said Jeff Wirth, the Safety Director at Murray Energy Corporation. "Like I said, our employees are our most valuable asset and these people are top notch at what they do. These are the champions of each subsidiary company competing here."
Miners are put to physical and mental tests at the competition. They have to carry more than 200 pound mannequins after putting out a mine fire. But the competitions help miners prepare themselves for possible real mine disasters.
"These men do this to save their mines, to save their fellow co-workers, to save their livelihood," said Barrington. "And that's not just for the guys that go underground, it helps to save communities. God forbid any type of accident did happen."
Teams come from mines all over the United States to compete in the competition. Barrington is one of last year's reigning champs, from Utah.