The current Murray Energy Corporation, (“Murray Energy”) fire protection program began in 2001. At that time Bill Moser, who had 22 years with West Virginia University as the Director of the Emergency Preparedness Center, joined Murray Energy. Moser became the Manager of Emergency Preparedness for all of Murray Energy.
The program started with fire protection audits at each operation. The purpose of the audits was to determine the level of preparedness within the company. Areas of vulnerability as well as strengths and weaknesses were accessed. It was quickly realized that major upgrade to the fire protection system was needed. State of the art fire fighting equipment was put in place at each operation. A mobile training unit was designed and built to service all of the mines. This unit was a three tiered smoke training gallery as well as a live fire training unit. Bi-annually each employee is trained to safely evaluate in heavy smoke conditions and extinguish a large scale fire using a hand held fire extinguisher.
A decision was soon made that each mine should be staffed on every shift with “volunteer” fire fighters. Fire fighting turnout gear and breathing apparatus is stationed at strategic locations in each of mines of Murray Energy. This would allow for a second responder system that was both immediate and efficient. The fire brigades, as they became known, are continually trained to safely and efficiently extinguish a mine fire which goes beyond the capability of the first responder.
Many of the fire fighters who volunteered in 2001 are still active fire brigade team members today. They also have success stories and have become “seasoned” fire fighters. Since the inception of the program the company has had some serious fires that have been handled quickly, safely and effectively by the fire brigades. Plans are currently underway to build a fire training center for the Utah operations recently acquired by Murray Energy.
All facets of the program go above and beyond the requirements of the law. As a result of the lessons learned from the actual fires within the company, the Murray Energy fire protection standards were developed.
If you are interested in becoming part of this proud and elite group you should see your safety director today.