Mine rescue using technological innovation to improve response

A new mine rescue tool has been developed in Sudbury, a tablet that's now being used to improve communication.

Ontario Mine Rescue recently received $3 million in funding from the provincial government to improve response times, training and to hire more officers. It will also help implement the new tablet project.

"Compared to what we are doing right now -- we use pen and paper and broken telephone to relay that message to surface," said Shawn Rideout, chief mine rescue officer. "So with the use of the tablet, we can quickly relay things like video, pictures and immediately get that information up to surface."

The tablet project was developed in Sudbury by Mine Rescue to enhance the information delivery from the underground working teams to the control groups on the surface.

"The development of the tablet is key to keeping up with the innovative times and using the technology that is available to us underground and ensuring that we can quickly get the proper messages up to surface so we can respond accordingly," said Rideout.

Roch Berthiaume works underground, but also volunteers as an emergency first responder on the mine rescue team. He said the software will enhance efficiency in unpredictable situations.

"I think the training is important, because underground you could be in any situation and we train for the worst-case scenarios," said Berthiaume.

Ontario Mine Rescue currently responds to 28 underground mining operations in the province and the software will be used to communicate in real time during mining emergencies.