The Huckleberry Mine rescue team is taking part in the Provincial Mine Rescue and First Aid Competition June 6 and 8.

Huckleberry rescue team training hard

Mostly new team needs to keep their cool: Captain O'Hara

The Huckleberry Mine rescue team is training hard to ensure they remain one of the top teams in B.C. at the upcoming Provincial Mine Rescue and First Aid Competition.

While first place has eluded the team, they have come very close to reaching the top spot in the last two years.

Lee O’Hara, a Huckleberry Mine rescue team member for the last six years, is captain this time around.

Besides himself, there are two other members with experience, he said, so maintaining focus and remembering what was learned during training will be key.

The event is broken up into a zone final first, then the top two teams in each zone advance on to the provincial competition.

It’s hosted annually by the Ministry of Energy, Mines and Natural Gas and is now in its 57th year.

Teams compete in underground mine rescue, three-person first aid and surface mine rescue events.

Of the nearly 30 Huckleberry employees trained in mine rescue, seven were handpicked to take part in the competition.

The team has been practicing for the competition at the Smithers Regional Fire Training Centre all month and Huckleberry Mine health and safety coordinator and mine rescue coach Dwayne Allen said they just need to refine their craft.

“They need to sharpen their skills and develop that flow where they don’t have to stop the task at hand, it’s just second nature,” Allen said.

First aid will be a major focus and is typically the deciding factor in the event, O’Hara said.

“First aid is a big point getter,” he said.

“We need to be thorough and not over or under treat.

“The tendency is to do too much when you’re missing obvious points in another direction.”

At the end of the day, win or lose, the competition is about education, O’Hara said.

“It should be a learning experience first,” he said.

The Provincial Mine Rescue and First Aid Competition zone final is June 6 and provincials are June 8. Both take place in Revelstoke.

Allen has been lobbying for Smithers to host the 2014 event.

This will be announced June 8.


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