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Harlan County Safety Days, Mine Rescue Competition to be held at SKCTC Cumberland Campus, event set for July 26-28

The Cumberland Tourist Commission has announced that after a 15-year interval a mine rescue competition will be held. The event will be staged on the campus of Southeast Kentucky Community amp; Technical College July 26-28.

The contest Harlan County Safety Days, Mine Rescue Competition -- is being sponsored by the local tourist commission, the Kentucky Coal Academy, SKCTC and ARH Hospital and, according to Tracy Bailey executive director of the commission, the competition is expected to attract mine rescue teams from Kentucky, Virginia, West Virginia, Illinois, Alabama and Indiana.

The Cumberland Tourist Commission wished to do something that would bring positive attention to the local coal industry and to our coal miners, she said. The event, she noted, is being held in conjunction with the Centennial of Coal Celebration marking the first shipment of coal dispatched from Harlan County in 1911.

We thought there was no better time to revive the mine rescue contest than in this, the 100th year anniversary of the first shipment of coal leaving the Harlan County coal fields.

Some 21 teams are expected to compete with over 200 miners comprising the various units. The event will be judged by a team of 100 employees of the Mine Safety Health Administration (MSHA) and an additional 50 to 75 special guests are expected to attend each day.

The Harlan County Safety Days, Mine Rescue Competition, returning to the area after 15 years, is a way to show our support and appreciation for what our coal corporations and miners do for us. The event will also serve to showcase the natural beauty of Harlan County and introduce to many area attractions such as Portal 31, the Kentucky Coal Museum, Kingdom Come State Park and the Black Mountain Off Road Adventure area, just to name a few, said Bailey.

Mine rescue teams will be put through their paces on a course designed and laid out by MSHA officials. Teams will compete in a pre-shift mine examination competition, a first-aid competition, a bench competition where breathing apparatuses are tested and repaired by the bench man, and a mine rescue competition where teams are judged and timed on their ability to work efficiently and safely in a simulated underground mine disaster situation.

The event, slated for July 26-28, will begin each day at 8 a.m. and continue into the afternoon. An awards ceremony will be held on the final day.

Food and souvenir t-shirts and other novelties will be available for purchase, and for additional information regarding the Harlan County Safety Days, Mine Rescue Competition, contact Mrs. Bailey or Suzanne Williams, Tri-City Chamber of Commerce, Cumberland, phone 606/589-5812.