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Fighting fires in underground mines : the pre-incident planning tool
Hansen Rickard
University of Queensland
Fires in underground mines may pose a challenge to mine rescue or fire service personnel, where the complex environment and multiple influence of a fire will be challenging during the pre-incident planning. This report presents a study on the pre-incident planning in underground mines, where data from experiments, risk inventories, and design fire scenario studies were applied. Addressing questions such as: what specific information sources to use? How to use fire modelling in the planning? How to capture the complexity? Information sources would primarily be conducted risk analysis. From the risk analysis, design fire scenarios will be elaborated to test different parts of the plan, acting as checkpoints. Unfavourable fire conditions underground include a rapidly growing fire during the initial stages, a long-lasting fire, a fire with high heat release rate posing a risk during the suppression operation or a fire with extensive smoke production. When performing fire modelling, empirical models could be used as a complement to other modelling tools. For modelling of spatially extensive sections, the use of ventilation network-based mine fire simulations could be a better option. The mine ventilation system will have a decisive role in the pre-planning and should be verified against fire scenarios for the specific mine section and backup actions should be planned to increase the robustness of the system. Using an extensive analytical toolbox, an iterative testing of the plan and a continuously on-going planning process, the pre-planning challenges for a mine will be mitigated. An increased knowledge of the pre-incident planning in underground mines would improve the safety of mining and fire personnel during an incident.
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