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Alberta Online Encyclopedia
When Coal Was King
Industry, People and Challenges
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Mine Rescue/Rescue Teams

The photograph is largely self-explanatory. The first trained Mine Rescue team was located in Blairmore although this group, located at Galt Mine No. 6, undoubtedly was the first to combine training in First Aid with Mine Rescue Work. These men tended to be the cream of the crop.As long as men have mined there has been mine rescue - a mine rescue built on the bond of trust developed between workers in this always hostile environment. As societies appetite for goods and services grew in the last half of the nineteenth century, miners were required to work deeper, faster and harder - sometimes pushing beyond the limits of technology.

Mine rescue car number one, Crowsnest Pass district, Alberta, 1916.Coal mining had always been a dangerous occupation, however by the first decade of the 20th century as demand for coal increased, so did the dangers. Something had to give. In 1909, after a series of gas outbursts at the Carbonado Colliery at Morrissey and an explosion at the Extension mine on Vancouver Island, the mines act was re-written requiring among others that every coal mine be equipped oxygen breathing apparatus. It also mandated that central supply stations for the training of rescue corps established and maintained by the Government. This marked the beginning of formalized mine rescue in B.C. The Elk Valley station was established at Hosmer by fall 1910.

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