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Safety Readiness

Alpha maintains highly trained and motivated mine rescue professionals who utilize a number of specialized resources for their operations. Those resources include transportation, firefighting equipment, gas analyzers, communications and self-contained breathing apparatus. Our mine rescue teams have been recognized both regionally and nationally for their hard work and professionalism.



Incident Response Action Plans


The first priority and concern of any incident response is the safety and health of employees and any other individuals put at risk by an incident.  Personal safety must take precedence over all other issues.


An emergency incident is any event that affects normal business operations, attracts extraordinary attention or may result in one or more of the following:  loss of life or property, serious injury or entrapment, damage to corporate reputation and/or financial harm.  Any response to an incident involves both managing the incident and communicating to key constituencies during and after an event.


Since an emergency incident can occur at any time, each Alpha mine or other operating unit has  an Incident Response Action Plan that anticipates potential events and pre-plans effective ways to react.  Practicing effective responses can help reduce risks and increase the likelihood of successful resolution and rapid recovery.



Mine Rescue Teams


Coal mining companies around the nation have organized and trained hundreds of mine rescue teams since the first team was formed in the early 1900s.  Alpha Natural Resources, Inc., through its operating companies, maintains 3 teams that serve mines in West Virginia.


Miners volunteer to be part of a rescue team.  Each volunteer is extensively screened for attitude, interest, mining skills and knowledge, physical abilities and availability.  Mine rescue team members also need to carefully follow rules, keep self discipline in stressful situations and be a dependable team member. 


Federal law contains annual requirements that teams train a minimum of 96 hours.  Many teams train much more than what is required by law.


Mine rescue teams receive training in safe techniques to use when entering a mine following an emergency event.  They also receive in-depth training with regard to mine maps, ventilation procedures and the use of auxiliary mine rescue equipment.  All these efforts are made in the hope that there will never be a mine emergency that requires them to employ their rescue skills.


Mobile Communication Center (MCC)


Since many mines and support facilities are in remote locations, state-of-the-art communications equipment is not always available.  To overcome this barrier and to support Incident Response Action Plans, Alpha developed a mobile communications center (MCC) that can be dispatched quickly to any location in case of an emergency incident.  


The specially-designed vehicle is equipped with a self-aligning mobile satellite that allows for the following:

  • Secure voice service using Cisco Internet phones; 
  •  A secure firewalled data connections to Alpha’s corporate network; and
  • Internet service.

The climate- controlled meeting room is equipped with four LCD flat-screens that can be used either for satellite TV or to share a view from a desktop or laptop computer.  


The MCC carries four touch-screen PCs and two ruggedized laptops.  


The vehicle has a designated parking location at each Alpha facility where it might be used and can either use available electricity or its onboard electric generator for power.