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Because the mines could be so dangerous, mine rescue squads were trained at the mines. These men took courses in techniques for entering mines following explosions, cave-ins or other accidents. Mine rescue squads became highly proficient in their work and took great pride in their skills. It was highly dangerous work because they could never be sure if there would be other explosions or cave-ins after they entered a mine. There might be pockets of poisonous gases that could kill them in minutes. Each mine rescue team member was normally equipped with special breathing apparatus and other safety gear. Many miners owed their lives to the swift work and fearless response of the mine rescue teams.
Mine rescue teams trained and practiced to make sure they were in top form in the event
of an accident. Teams from different mines and different working shifts competed for
championships and trophies. The rescue teams were held in high esteem by their fellow
miners and the people of the mining communities.