TECO Coal takes first place in mine rescue competition

TECO Coal's victorious mine rescue team members.

TECO Coal’s victorious mine rescue team members.

If you’re in a mine and something goes wrong, TECO Coal has the people you want coming to your rescue. On Aug. 23, the team claimed top prize in the Mine Rescue portion of the Kentucky Mining Institute’s 2013 Kentucky State Safety Contest.

“Like the mutual aid program we participate in at Tampa Electric, the TECO Coal Mine Rescue Team can be called upon to assist in a mining disaster anywhere in the country,” said TECO Energy Safety Director Mark Downing, who was on hand in Lexington to see the competition. “While everyone hopes that their skills will never be used, it sure is good to know that TECO is among the very best at rescuing and providing first aid to trapped miners.”

TECO Coal team members demonstrate how they safely transport a mock victim from an accident site.

TECO Coal team members demonstrate how they safely transport a mock victim from an accident site.

The mine rescue team earned its victory – a repeat performance from last year – by excelling in simulated crisis situations while in full safety gear. The team also demonstrated outstanding knowledge of regulations and rescue equipment maintenance.

“Our mine rescue team trains diligently, and this victory is the proof that they’re at the top of their game,” said Dave Blankenship, director of Safety with TECO Coal. “Mine safety and rescue procedures are uniquely challenging – you’ve got to be a special caliber of person to master it. We couldn’t be more proud of this team.”

Proficiency in administering first aid in a mine rescue situation was another area where TECO Coal team members excelled.

Proficiency in administering first aid in a mine rescue situation was another area where TECO Coal team members excelled.

Downing praised the mine rescue team for its contribution to TECO Energy’s overall safety record, which was the best it’s ever been in 2012. He said the team, never settling for the status quo, was already gearing up for its next challenge.

“While carrying their trophies outside of Rupp Arena, they were quick to explain that they couldn’t get cocky since the national championships are three weeks away,” Downing said. “It’s not just TECO team members who are counting on them to do their best in a crisis – everyone has a stake in their success.”

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