History of Coal Mining in Nova Scotia
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Louis Frost
Mine Rescue
and Safety
since 1932

The Louis Frost Notes 1685 to 1962

Rescue Organization and Mine Safety Inspection

The Corporation maintains a well organized and highly trained Mine Rescue Corps under the care of well trained instructors.

The corps is divided into three main districts with a sub-district in the Town of New Waterford. Prior to the closure of the Springhill Collieries, a well equipped rescue station was also maintained in that district.

In each district a well equipped rescue station is maintained, under the supervision of a Rescue Superintendent who is responsible for the maintenance of the equipment and the training of the Rescue Crews and Station Attendants.

A total of eighteen fully trained crews of six men per crew are maintained at all times and, in addition, a sufficient number of trainees are given rescue training to maintain the crews at full strength at all times. All rescue stations and teams fall under the direction of the Chief Mining Engineer. In this way there is complete liaison between the whole corps.

All teans are equipped with McCaa self-contained breathing apparatus, this equipment having replaced the Meco Briggs self contained breathing apparatus in use in 1942, which, in turn, displaced the old "Westphalian" and "Draeger" used in 1922.

Although doubt has been expressed as to the Company which brought the first self-contained apparatus to this side of the Atlantic, there is no doubt whatever that the Dominion Coal Company established the first organized Rescue Station in Glace Bay, N.S., in 1907.

This station was started with 20 sets of 1907 Draeger apparatus and all necessary station equipment and supplies.

After a fire in No. 1 pit in Sydney Mines, the N.S.S. Company installed 15 sets of Draeger apparatus in a Rescue car made up of a converted PuIlman car.

In 1909 a fire occurred at the Back Pit in Stellarton where the equipment from Glace Bay was used, and subsequently the Acadia Company erected a station and installed 10 sets of "Securetus" apparatus.

In 1912 the Stations at New Waterford and Springhill were opened and equipped with Draeger apparatus. Later the N.S.S. Company acquired two sets of "Proto" se1f-contained machines and in 1918, after the explosion at the Allan Shaft Mine, The Acadia Company added some "Gibbs" machines to their equipment at Stellarton.

Some time prior to 1922 the Corporation, then known as BESCO, formed a committee to study the various types of self contained breathing apparatus available and to recommend unification of equipment for all districts being worked by the Corporations's Collieries.

The units tested were the

Gibbs, manufactured by Mines Supplies Company. Pittsburgh
Paul        "       "  American Atmos Co., lake Draegerts
Proto       "       "  Siebe Gorman & Company, London, England
Briggs      "       "  Mining Engineering Company, Sheffield, England

The committee recommended the Meco-Briggs machine and this type of unit was installed in all districts.

The present organization consists of eighteen teams distributed as follows :-

				 Self Contained
				 Breathing Apparatus
District		Teams    McCaa    Chemox     Gas Masks  Inhalators

Glace Bay		   6	   26	    19	        10	    2
New Waterford		   4	   12	     6	         -	    1
Sydney Mines		   4	   20	     9	         -	    1
Thorburn, New Glasgow	   4	   20	    13	         -	    1

Safety Inspection

The Corporation also maintains a team of Safety Inspectors, under the direction of a Chief Inspector located in Glace Bay, who are responsible for the daily inspection of the operating section in the collieries and the electrical equipment used in the operations.

An inspector is located at each colliery in addition to the Electrical Inspector, and they work in close liaison with the colliery officials in matters of safety of the working force.


In addition to the inspector noted above, the Chief Mining Engineer maintains a competent force of field and ventilation engineers who survey and direct the efficient distribution of the ventilation facilities at the collieries and maintain constant liaison in all Engineering matters, including the safety of the operations, with the various colliery departments; so that a very efficient operation is maintained throughout the Corporation Collieries.

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Last Modified: 98-01-06

Authored by: Louis Frost

The information contained on this site is not provided for the purpose of factual
representation. Instead, it is provided in an historical context. Every effort has
been made to ensure that this information represents the actual content of the
original document authored by Louis Frost for the Dominion Coal Company
on or around 1962. Nevertheless, no warranties are provided in any respect.

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