MRS Training & Rescue’s Andrew Watson and Billy Gundry recently completed a memorable trip to train 42 full time Colombian Agency National Mineral (ANM) employees.
In Colombia there are 7,700 legal mines and many illegal mines in operation. Most of the mines focus on the extraction of coal, gold, emeralds and other precious minerals. 50 full-time ANM employees are responsible for the safety and rescue of these mines, working from 6 stations throughout Colombia. The team is passionate, but the nature of their work is very dangerous, especially if they are called out to one of the many illegal mines in operation.
To improve their safety and ensure the whole team was trained correctly, they awarded a training contract to MRS Training & Rescue in 2016. Our 100 year heritage in mines rescue and knowledge made us the ideal team to go out and complete this type of assessment and rescue training.
In November 2017, Billy and Andrew travelled to Colombia – to meet with the team and to begin assessments and training. The ANM team face many challenges in their work - many of the team have had guns pointed at them during rescues and some have even been held hostage by illegal miners. This was all taken into consideration when risk assessments were completed, a change from what Billy and Andrew normally have to include during assessments here in the UK.
During the month whilst the MRS Training & Rescue team were in Colombia; there were a number of emergency rescue calls – which amplified the risks the ANM team often have to face. The emergency calls during the trip included roof falls, transport emergencies, 2 irrespirable atmospheres and a 1 methane gas explosion – which resulted in 17 injuries and 3 serious injuries.
Operations Manager Billy shared some words about the trip, saying:
“As is the norm when I have had the opportunity to work overseas, there’s always some part of me that feels apprehension and uncertainty. Travelling several thousand miles to Colombia, South America was no different. Here, I was part of a 2 man team delivering training on the major hazards associated with working in mines and to provide teaching skills to 2 groups or rescue personnel. Waking in the morning soon put any fears behind me when I was met with beautiful views that took your breath away.”
Andrew and Billy both felt the trip was a life-changing experience and they have since spoken about the hard work and dedication of the ANM employees, all of which is truly inspirational to everyone here at MRS Training & Rescue. Since the trip, the ANM team have provided us with some great feedback:
“Excellent professionals, a company very committed to training, good teaching methodology.”
“The mining rescue practices, and the teaching process used in the United Kingdom applied in the training were of great importance and can be implemented to the National Service of Mining Rescue in Colombia.”
“What a great human quality these two men have and what a great commitment and dedication to transmit their knowledge.”
MRS Training & Rescue sees this trip as a great success and hopes it is the beginning of a long lasting relationship with the Colombian Agency National Mineral (ANM). We’re proud to provide training to teams across the world – it’s something our team love to do and provides us with experience and knowledge we can apply to our training and rescue services here in the UK.
The MRS Training & Rescue team operate from 6 locations in the UK, each offering a comprehensive range of rescue cover, training courses and assessment abilities. Visit our location pages to learn more about each station or call 01623 423777 to learn more about the work and services we can offer here in the UK and across the world.