New software application should improve mine rescue in Ontario

Innovative process provides the mining community with a cloud-based management for emergency preparedness and mine rescue missions

Dräger Canada and Focus FS have announced a new multi-year partnership with Ontario Mine Rescue for the deployment of an innovative new mine rescue information system.

The new process provides the mining community with a cloud-based management of emergency preparedness, mine rescue missions and post-incident review. 

Cloud based software refers to that which can be accessed by any internet or wifi device, such as a tablet device.

Dräger is one of the iconic names in Mine Rescue. It is the name of the German company that first developed re-breathing apparatus more than years ago to allow rescuers to enter poisonous confined atmospheres such as a mine fire to carry out rescue work.

In fact, in many parts of the world back in the day mine rescuers were called Drägermen because of the equipment they wore. Dräger has evolved into a high-tech company that provides many medical solutions and safety technology applications. 

U.S. Navy Seals use Dräger rebreathers in underwater tactical situations.

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Focus FS is a Canadian company that designs worker safety applications for industrial worksites. 

Under the new agreement, the Dräger Focus FS Emergency Response software will be deployed at more than 30 operating mine sites across Ontario, which will provide each mine with the next generation of mine rescue technology, said the company. 

The company describes Emergency Response as a software application installed on a rugged tablet device which is carried by mine rescuers as they are sent into emergency situations.  

The device gives mine rescuers instant access to: 

Interactive digital maps, notes and photo sharing, and real-time reports and alerts to keep essential personnel in constant contact during emergency response.

Tracking tools for oxygen levels, hazardous gas detection and equipment checks to help keep mine workers and rescue teams safe

Automated data collection during and after the rescue mission stored in one central location to help an organization meet regulatory requirements, thus reducing liability.

Comprehensive post-incident investigations, reporting and action management to enhance rescue program effectiveness.

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Real-time personnel and asset visibility to ensure team members have the right training and certifications, and rescue equipment is ready for use.

Focus said the new software replaces more traditional methods with digital communication and reporting tools used by rescue teams and surface personnel during active emergencies, training and ongoing improvement.

In a news release, Jeffrey Brown, Focus FS President and CEO, said the leading edge technology will only strengthen mine rescue practices.

“By vastly improving how critical information is collected and communicated in real-time, mine rescue teams can better respond to any incident – ultimately helping to save lives,” he said.

Focus FS said the application was developed in partnership with Ontario Mine Rescue, which is based in Sudbury, but serves every mining operation in Ontario..

Mine Rescue Vice President, Ted Hanley of Sudbury, said in a statement that with safety being the highest priority for rescuers, sending them into hazardous conditions with the best tools available is critical. 

“The mine rescue communications platform provided by Focus FS will be used as a critical tool to ensure timely, accurate information is relayed and available to mine rescue teams and mine management – ensuring they make the safest decisions possible in the shortest amount of time,” Hanley said. 

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