Rescue teams set to save more miners
Updated: 2012-05-03 04:20
By Zhi Yun (China Daily)
Nature's way is still the best to boost nutrient intake, health experts say, reports Yang Wanli in Beijing.
Specially trained and equipped mine rescue teams, to be formed this year, will significantly reduce the number of fatalities, according to a leading emergency rescue expert.
The seven rescue teams, stationed across the country, are predicted to reduce mine fatalities by about 12.5 percent by 2015, Wang Jinzhong, deputy director of the emergency rescue headquarters at the State Administration of Work Safety, told China Daily.
Last year, 3,033 miners were killed in 2,072 accidents. The government has vowed to reduce the death toll to 2,700 within four years, he said.
The seven teams, located in the coalmining areas of Hebei, Shanxi, Heilongjiang, Shandong, Henan, Sichuan and Gansu provinces, have been selected and upgraded from existing teams and are being given state-of-the-art training and equipment, Wang said.
The State Council demanded the teams be set up following the 2010 Wang Jialing colliery flood in Shanxi that claimed the lives of 38 miners. The government since then has spent more than 800 million yuan ($127 million) on new equipment, Wang said.
The rescue teams are undergoing comprehensive training schedules conducted under military discipline, Wang said. Theoretical training for two hours every day is part of the schedule. Combat exercises take place every 10 days and a general exercise, simulating disaster conditions, is held every quarter.
"Each team member will be asked to perform certain duties in high temperatures surrounded by toxic gas while wearing a mask," Wang said.
"In the 2010 Yushu earthquake rescue in Qinghai province none of our rescuers had altitude sickness while many of the soldiers had a reaction to the conditions," Zhao Lanyou, team leader of the Kailuan rescue team in Hebei, said.
The procedure for these rescue teams to go into operation has been established.
Following the confirmation of a major mine disaster, the local government will ask the emergency rescue headquarters of the work safety administration for support. The headquarters then dispatches a team within 40-90 seconds, Wang told China Daily.
Although formed primarily for mine rescue, the teams will also help in cases of natural disasters or major accidents.
The rescue teams already have had experience in dealing with mine disasters.
In the Yushu earthquake, the Sichuan team were the first to enter the area. And in the 2008 Wenchuan earthquake in Sichuan, 1,400 members of the seven teams rescued 1,100 people, Wang said.
Rescuers must be in peak physical condition, Wang said, and must have served at least two years in a mine.
Once selected to be a rescuer, an arduous year of physical and mental tests follows before the candidate is ready to serve.
The retirement age is normally 40 but this can be stretched to 45, Zhao said.
A number of developed countries such as the US, Germany and Australia, have mine rescue teams and the Chinese have studied methods used in these countries.
"Once the teams are officially launched, China will have equipment compatible with developed countries," Wang said.
China joined the International Mines Rescue Body in 2003, an informal grouping that holds annual contests.
The Henan rescue team won first prize in the mine rescue contest in 2006 and the Kailuan team won third prize in 2004.