PIKEVILLE, Ky. (WSAZ) -- Mining is an important industry in our region, and keeping those miners safe is even more important.
On Wednesday, 50 mines rescue teams from eight states were in Pikeville to show off their safety skills.
It's the largest competition of its kind in the United States.
The categories include first aid and mine rescue, just to name a couple.
Jeanne Hall is a coal miner's wife. Her husband is a part of the rescue team at his mine in Moundsville, W.Va.
"You just hope they've got the right training and stuff to get them out," Hall said.
Hall's husband is one of nearly 500 mine rescue volunteers in Pikeville this week for the largest mine safety event in the nation.
"It's good training so that if something does happen then they know what they're doing," Hall said.
Miners we spoke with said there's a big difference between training and what they run into underground.
"It's a little bit scarier going into the mines that may be on fire or had an explosion or people missing," miner Terry Shearer said.
Through all the drills and practice, Shearer says the most important thing they learn is staying calm, especially when you have just one thing on your mind:
"Will I come out? It's just hoping we can find survivors and bring them out," Shearer said. "That's the main thing."
"You think that every day when they go to the mine. It's always in the back of your mind," Hall said.
These rescuers are all volunteers. They put in a full week's work at the mine, and then another eight to 10 hours every week for training.
Some of them say they even used their vacation days to go to the competition.
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