THE region's firefighting miners have pitted their skills against the best Victoria after months of preparation, including training in the Central Deborah mine.
Three central Victorian teams competed in the 27th annual Victorian Mine Rescue Competition in the Latrobe Valley, with the CFA's Bendigo-based Oscar One winning the search and rescue category, as well as one focusing on safety.
Nine teams put their skills to the test in firefighting, first aid, rope rescue and search and rescue, Minerals Council of Australia's James Sorahan said.
"The simulated emergencies faced by the teams help prepare them for real-life situations," he said.
Bendigo's David Priest received the Noel Justice Award for commitment and dedication to mine rescue.
Mr Priest is secretary of Oscar One and has volunteered with the CFA for 36 years.
He is a founding member of the Oscar One team, which is the only volunteer mine rescue group in Australia, Mr Sorahan said.
"David has been instrumental in getting members, training and gear sorted," he said.
"David has been a big part of the firefighting exercise for the underground competition and when the time came to run a surface competition, he was also on the organising committee to set the competition up."
Mandalay Resource's Costerfield mine rescue team came second in a search and rescue scenario and second in a theory exam.
Kirkland Lake Gold's Fosterville team came third overall.
In August, mine rescuers invited the Bendigo Advertiser to a simulation in Bendigo's Central Deborah Mine.
They rescued 20 people from the mine.
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