Emergency Planning and Response - A Training Update from Minara Resources
Posted: 06/11/2012 12:00:00 AM EDT | 0
Mining IQ recently interviewed Mark Leach, Emergency Services and Security Coordinator, for Minara Resources, Murrin Murrin. Mark spoke frankly about the appropriate use of training for emergency response situations and how to ensure that emergency services officers are prepared for a range of scenarios. Mark is speaking at Mining IQ's upcoming Mine Safety and Rescue event in Brazil.
How is your internal training structured to enable Emergency Services Offiers to respond and react appropriately to emergency situations?
Training is carried out using seven principle rules, these are as follows:
- Bet on Quality over Quantity– More is not always better
- Plan the Training– 7 P’s
- Never Assume– Never assume your natural talent is going to set you apart from something or someone.
- Specialize– Once you feel you have achieved an adequate level, break it down to its parts in order to get better at each part individually.
- Always train from a position of Disadvantage– Use natural physical limiters like water, weights and weather to simulate difficult conditions.
- No matter how accomplished you think you are, "You’re not”– It is natural that if you’ve achieved some level of success, you’re inclined to train less, practice less and generally slack off.
- Do more, Think more, Want more, Need more and Have more– If you want to set yourself up to succeed, you need to train harder than the real thing itself, to push your team to their limits.
I push my Emergency Services Officers to their limit to see at what point they fail, I push them to fail for two reasons, 1) to let themselves know there limits which in turn lets them know the limitations of the emergency response team. ESO’s are trained harder and longer than the ERT. 2) Eso’s have to know the gear inside out and how to use it in the worst of conditions.
Training also has to be real, training dummies are not used, only real casualties, training also has to be perfect, there is no point practicing for the sake of it, skills have to be trained perfectly and precisely.
Practice does not make perfect. ONLY, Perfect practices makes perfect.
True perfection isn’t really the point. The primary goal is to practice your drills and procedures at the level at which you will aim to perform in reality when called to carry out your duties within an Emergency Response situation. No ‘Ifs”, ‘ands”, or ‘buts”.
The only way to achieve your maximum performance potential is to train your body and mind to do so, over, and over…. and over.
Research has shown it takes about ten years to develop expertise in any of a wide range of skills and areas. The key is deliberative practice; not just doing it again and again, but challenging yourself with a task that is just beyond your current ability (Similar to Scenarios), trying it, analyzing your performance during and after, correcting any mistakes. Then repeat. And repeat again.
This mismatch between the real world and the training world makes it a certainty that we as mining companies or organizations are wasting our or their training dollar.
What kind of practices are utilized to ensure that employees are prepared to manage emergencies?
With regards to Minara, every possible ending or outcome is trained within the scenario, as there is never a right or wrong way with regards to rescuing or dealing with an incident, the only certainty there is, is there will be one of many endings. So scenarios are designed, developed and then practiced, because, as we know a scenario is:
“An internally consistent view of what the future might turn out to be – not a forecast, but one possible future outcome.”
So in the early stages, a good set of scenarios are designed, but, they also need to be plausible in that they can be “Imagined” in terms of current, visible, events or trends that might cause them to happen; the set should not only include a visionary (or normative) scenario, but also some scenarios that challenge the Company and Emergency Response Team. Scenario planning is the art of using scenarios for decision- making.
One thing that is installed into the Emergency Services Officers and Response Team is, “One of the extraordinary things about human events is that the unthinkable, becomes thinkable.”
Every month, I ensure there are one or two surprise scenarios, which involve real events, relevant to the site; these include casualties on fire, real body organs, real chemicals and real emotions.
When a crisis occurs, most people find it difficult to evaluate the effects, which their decisions can have in the short or long term. How does the training carried out influence this?
The purpose of the above training, and training for realism and to fail, is to make the emergency responders ready and to prepare them both mentally and physically, I will already know what is and what is not going to affect them. Training can include using family members, which brings in an emotional aspect and tunnel vision, which is no good in the event of a rescue.
The response team is encouraged to talk to the team councilor if they have been subjected to an incident that may or may not cause emotional distress. We encourage this as a matter of good practice.
With over 25 years within the emergency industry, what do you bring from your past experiences in emergency responses to Minara Resources?
My career within the emergency industry has spanned many areas, fire-fighting, search and rescue underground and surface, air search and rescue, petro chemical incidents, major chemical incidents and natural disasters all around the world. The knowledge and experience gained from working with people from all over the world has made me a well-rounded, level headed, quick thinking problem solver. Which in this industry is paramount? The ideas, procedures and techniques brought to Minara, have made this process plant a safer and more proactive site in regards to its rescue plans, fire systems, auditing and more importantly its perfect practical approach to training and training to deal with real life incidents, all training is treated as real, and therefore relevant.
We are a proactive site instead of a reactive site. We train for every possible outcome, and then some, when we de-brief, we break it down further and then start all over again.
Throughout the past years, which cases demanded more, and what was done in these situations to manage the risks?
There have been a number of incidents here on site, and the best and proven way to deal with them, is to put the response teams into the situation first. They need to feel what pressure is, what heat is, the actual temperature of the fire, they need to feel the risk, be in it, around it.
They need to imagine it before hand, visualize it, and be part of it. This is the only way for the teams to be able to handle to potential risks associated with the incident.
Every training session is risk assessed, therefore when it happens, for real, everything is or has been taken into consideration with regards to team safety, and as all training is carried out on site in the real environment, they have already dealt with the incident so be it in a safe and controlled environment.
Everything is about the training and training for real world, not the pretend world. Training is to be treated as real and emergency response personnel need to see and feel when their bodies will fail, so they can prevent it happening, they become more aware of what is happening internally and externally, as this will affect their team mates.
The seven principles of training, this is the only way to train, which will then prepare your response people and then in turn will prevent injuries and failure.
Perfect practice makes perfect, not practice makes perfect.
“One of the extraordinary things about human events is that the unthinkable becomes thinkable”. And training is about preparing for the future, NOT predicting it.
And finally:“doubt is not a pleasant condition, but certainty is absurd”.
To find out more about Mine Safety and Rescue in Brazil (content is in portuguese) please visit here.
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