Emergency crews gathered at one of the portals of the mine where it was reported that 25 miners were killed and four were unaccounted for. There were two rescue chambers in the mines which gave some hope that the four men may be found alive. Over the ensuing four days rescue operations continued, often hampered by dangerous methane levels and smoke within the mine shafts. The entire rescue and recovery operation extended to seven days.
Jan-Care Ambulance’s missions included Mass Casualty Incident command, direct support of multi-state mine rescue teams, ambulance staging for possible mass retrieval of miners, and continuous support for the hundreds of family members encamped at the on-site UBB Family Center.
Jan-Care Ambulance UBB Response
April 5 – 12, 2010
UBB Initial MCI Response Plan (April 5, 2010)
Jan-Care Ambulance’s missions included Mass Causality Incident (MCI) joint Medical Command, direct medical and rehab support of multi-state mine rescue teams, ambulance staging for possible mass retrieval of miners, and continuous support for the hundreds of family members encamped at the on-site UBB Family Center.
There was simultaneous full implementation of the ICS-MCI system with 5 person support in the Jan-Care Command Center coordinating additional resources, back-fill for existing EMS stations, maintaining 911 coverage in home counties and fully implementing a multi-county mutual aid back-up plan. Operations where complicated by the remoteness of the site which hampered direct radio and cell-phone communication.
UBB Continuous Support Plan (April 6 - 12, 2010)
While 29 miners were eventually recovered from the mines it should not be understated how the initial and subsequent week-long EMS operations were in direct support of rescue operations and family support, whereby the eventual outcome remained unclear until late Friday night.
Incredibly, Jan-Care’s seven days of on-site support at UBB was provided by 86 different EMS employees and 28 separate emergency vehicles.
The Upper Big Branch Mine Explosion personally and deeply touched our organization and further set our resolve to always stand ready to support our communities in times of need.