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Illinois
Coal & Coal Mining
History & Genealogy

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Coal Mine Safety and First-Aid

      In the aftermath of a disasterious fire at the Cherry Coal Mine which took the lives of 259 men and boys on Saturday, November 13, 1909, the Illinois legislature established stronger mine safety regulations. In 1911, Illinois passed a separate law, which would later develop into the Illinois Workmen's Compensation Act.
 
Rescue Stations, the early years, 1910 - 1920
Biography of Richard Newsam
First-Aid and Rescue Contests
Reference Sources
See also: Disasters in Illinois Coal Mines

Rescue Stations
the early years, 1910 - 1920
Benton Mine Resuce Car and Staion
Photograph from Coal Age 10
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1911 Annual Coal Report1 Mine Fire Rescue Stations in Coal Fields
      (Senate Bill No. 42, approved March 4. 1910;
      Senate Bill No. 420, amends sections 2, 5 and 9, and the title of the Act. Approved June 5, 1911.
)
      An Act to establish and maintain in the coal fields of Illinois, mine fire fighting and rescue stations, amended and approved June 5, 1911.
 
(Section 1 approved March 4, 1910.)
      Section 1. Be it enacted by the People of the State of Illinois, represented in the General Assembly: That for the purpose of providing prompt and efficient means of fighting mine fires and of saving lives and property jeopardized by fires, explosions or other accidents in coal mines in Illinois, there shall be constructed, equipped and maintained at public expense three rescue stations to serve the northern, the central and the southern coal fields of the State.
 
      2. The Governor shall appoint a commission, consisting of seven members, including two coal mine operators, two coal miners, one State Mine Inspector, one representative of. the department of mining at the University of Illinois, and one representative of the Federal Bureau of Mines. Said commission shall, within ten days after their appointment, meet and organize by electing one of their number chairman and another secretary of said commission, who shall hold their respective offices for a period of one year, from the date of their election and until their successors are elected and qualified. Members of the said commission shall receive ten dollars ($10.00) per day for services rendered, not to exceed twenty-five (25) days during any one year, and all members of said commission shall be reimbursed for actual expenses while engaged in official work, approved by the commission; which commission shall be responsible for the proper carrying out of the provisions of this Act.
(Section 2 amended and approved June 5, 1911.)
 
      3. The said commission shall provide or purchase or accept as a gift, suitably located sites for the stations, temporary and permanent quarters and suitable equipment and materials for the work : Provided, however,, that the total cost of the equipment and maintenance of the service to July 1, 1911, shall not exceed seventy-five thousand ($75,000) dollars. The said commission shall further arrange for cooperation in the work with mine owners, miners and State and federal organizations so as to render the service of the utmost efficiency.
 
      4. The State Architect shall, as provided by law, furnish plans and specifications for suitable buildings as required by said commission.
(Sections 3 and 4 approved March 4, 1910.)
 
      5. The said commission shall appoint as manager of three stations and of their work, a man experienced in mining and mine engineering. The manager shall, with the advice and consent of the said commission, appoint for each station a superintendent and an assistant. Each appointee shall serve for a term of two years and until his successor is appointed and qualified, unless sooner discharged by the said commission. Each appointee before entering upon the duties of his office shall take and subscribe to the oath of office as provided by law. The manager shall, with the advice and consent of the commission, have authority to pay for such temporary assistance as may be needed in giving instruction in first aid to the injured and similar technical subjects, and such other temporary assistants and porters as may be needed from time to time to properly carry on the work of said rescue stations and such rescue cars as may be installed in connection with said stations, but not more than one extra assistant and one porter shall be employed for each rescue car.
(Section 5 amended and approved June 5, 1911.)
 
      6. The manager shall receive two hundred and fifty dollars ($250) per month ; each station superintendent one hundred and twenty-five dollars ($125) per month; and each station assistant seventy-five dollars($15) per month; and each appointee shall receive his necessary and actual traveling expenses while engaged in official duties.
 
      7. The manager shall, subject to approval of said commission, supervise the work at each of the three stations, shall purchase necessary supplies and shall file with the said commission, at the end of each quarter, a complete report of all operations and expenditures and an invoice of all supplies on hand. He shall provide that at each station some representative shall be on duty or within call at all hours of day and night for each day of the year.
 
      8. Whenever the manager or the superintendent of any station shall be notified by any responsible person that an explosion or accident requiring his services has occurred at any mine in the State, he shall proceed immediately with suitable equipment and on arrival at the said mine shall superintend the work of the rescue corps in saving life and property; and he shall cooperate with the management of the mine in rescue work, the said manager shall have authority over and may assume control of the mining property to such extent as is necessary for the protection of human life in the mine, during such time as members of the rescue corps are under ground, and while there is reasonable expectation that men entombed in the mine may be alive.
(Sections 6, 7 and 8 approved March 4, 1910.)
 
      9. The commission shall prepare a biennial report to the Governor and the General Assembly with necessary illustrations showing the work performed and money expended by the mine rescue service ; and the State Board of Contracts is hereby directed to print and bind said reports promptly, and to provide all necessary printing for the Mine Rescue Commission out of the appropriations for such board of contracts.
(Section 9 amended and approved June 5, 1911.)
 
      10. To carry into effect the provisions of this Act, there is hereby appropriated the sum of seventy-five thousand dollars ($75,000) of any money in the hands of the State Treasurer not otherwise appropriated; and the Auditor of Public Accounts is hereby directed to draw his warrants on the treasurer on receipt of vouchers, properly certified by the chairman and secretary of said commission and approved by the Governor.
(Section 10 approved March 4, 1910.)
 
      2. The title of said Act shall be amended to read as follows: An Act to establish and maintain in the coal fields of Illinois mine fire fighting and rescue stations.
Approved June 5, 1911.
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Benton Mine Resuce Station and Car Shed   Benton Mine Resuce Station Lecture Hall
Photograph from Coal Age 11
Extract from :
1930 Compilation of the Mining Reports of Illinois 15
      While the buildings were being erected, temporary stations were established that rescue equipment might be available in case of accident, and mine rescue cars were provided for.
      The Springfield Station was opened in January, 1911, and within four months from that time the other stations were ready.
      The following description of the buildings is taken from the report of the Commission December 31, 1910 :
Description of the Station Building

      "The station buildings are practically identical in design and construction,and the following description of the Springfield station, will serve also for the other two stations.
      The foundations are all of solid concrete, finished smooth on the inside wherever the surface is exposed. The walls of the building are of timber covered on the outside with metal lath coated with two coats of plaster throughout. The extreme dimensions are 61 feet 6 inches in width and 87 feet in depth. The height to the peak of the roof is 29 feet 6 inches.
      The front part of the building contains two floors and is divided into the living apartments, office and workshop. The rear portion is one story in height, and contains the rescue chamber.
      The basement contains a store room, coal room and furnace room and has a concrete floor and finished concrete walls throughout.
      On the first floor at the left of the entrance is the office of the superintendent, in which is a large closet for the storage of maps. Back of the office is a hallway leading to the dining room, which also serves as a general living room. Off this hall is a closet and toilet. Back of the dining room is the kitchen, off which is a commodious pantry and a rear entrance. Back of the front entrance porch a hallway leads to the rescue chamber and on the right is an entrance to an equipment room, which will probably be divided into two parts, one for the storing of equipment and the other will be fitted up as a workshop.
      The rescue training chamber and lecture hall occupy the rear of the first floor. The lecture or observation hall is a room 30 feet by 57 feet lighted from above by skylights, but it can be darkened, when desired, by curtains over the skylights. The sides of the lecture hall are of glass, thus giving a full view of the training gallery which surrounds the lecture hall on three sides. The lecture hall will seat comfortably about 100 persons, is well lighted and is provided with a special lighting switch so that a stereopticon can be used for lecture purposes.
      The training gallery is an air-tight gas chamber in which sulphur can be burned and in which training with the helmets and other rescue apparatus will be carried on. The right side of the gallery is 8 feet wide and 10 feet 4 inches high, and in this part there will be placed a mine track and a mine car. In the rear an overcast can be constructed, if desired. The left side of the gallery is 6 feet wide and is divided into two parts, one of which is 5 feet 2 inches in height and the other 4 feet 7 inches in height. This division allows work to be carried on in restricted quarters and the upper part can also serve as an overcast. There is a toilet at one end of the rescue chamber.
      The second floor contains a dormitory, in which there are twelve white enameled iron beds. A commodious toilet room is fitted with lockers, shower baths, wash bowls and other toilet facilities. There is also a bath room. Three rooms are available for bedrooms for the family of the superintendent, or for other purposes, if they are not so needed. A commodious linen closet and an attic over the front part of the building and over the rescue chamber give ample storage facilities.
      The building is well lighted with electricity and thoroughly ventilated by means of numerous well placed windows. It is finished throughout in natural wood stained a dark burnished gray color and presents an excellent appearance."

      The three rescue cars were put in commission in March, 1911. Two of these cars, completely furnished and equipped, were donated to the State by the Chicago, Milwaukee and St. Paul Railroad Company and the Northwestern Railroad Company.
      In order to protect these cars, a suitable car-barn was built at each station.
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1913 Annual Coal Report 2
Richard Newsam
      Richard Newsam was born in Chorley, Lancashire, England, November 11, 1843, died at his home, 208 Bigelow Street, Peoria, 111., August 4, 1913.
      He was put to work in the coal mines of his native country at the age of eight years, beginning with the belt and chain and tallow candle, attaining promotion until he had served in every position connected with the duties of mining. Denied the privilege of attending school, his whole live was devoted to acquiring practical knowledge through experience and hard knocks, and he has been long regarded as an authority, with an international reputation, on all subjects relating to the industry of coal mining.
      Mr. Newsam was married to Miss Frances Walstenholm, May 20, 1866, at Hindley, Lancashire, England, and three years later emigrated to America, settling at Peoria, Ill. He at once engaged in coal mining, assuming charge of the Lowry mine as superintendent. Five years later, he, with his brother, leased the mine and soon acquired interests in sixteen other mining properties, thereby becoming the largest coal operator in that section.
      In 1897, Governor Tanner, recognizing his great ability and sterling worth, appointed him a member of the State Mining Board, which he held, as president of the board, till the fall of 1912, when, owing to declining health, he was compelled to resign this position and also that of manager of the Mine Rescue Stations. It was largely on account of his recommendation, made immediately after the Cherry mine disaster, where he had served as leader in the work of rescuing the entombed miners, that the Mine Rescue Stations were established.
Richard Newsam
      Through his indefatigable efforts, spending his energy, his time and his money, the mining industry has been brought to a higher plane, lives have been saved, accidents avoided, and the world made better by his having lived in it. Truly it has been said of him, "He was the friend of everybody and everybody was his friend."
      Mr. Newsam is survived by his widow, three sons, three daughters, two brothers and one sister. The interment took place Friday, August 8, in the family lot at Kingston Mines, under the auspices of the Masonic Fraternity.
 
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1914 Annual Coal Report 3 Introductory
      It is gratifying to note the decrease in the number of fatal accidents notwithstanding the slight increase in the number of men injured. Last year 175 men lost their lives while engaged in their work, and this year 159 met a similar fate. The number of tons mined to each life lost was 381,860, and the number of employees to each fatality 503. Of the 159 men killed, 83, or more than one-half, lost their lives at the working face by falls of coal. roof. etc. How many of these was due to negligence in securing the place, perhaps, will never be known. In the last 10 years 1,992 men have been killed, and 7,711 injured so as to lose 30 or more days time, in the mines of Illinois, and, of these numbers, 830 lost their lives and 3,648 were injured by falls of roof, etc. When these facts are considered the situation becomes a very serious one, but, until some system is devised which will secure the roof and sides of the various rooms in our mines, a material decrease of accidents from this cause cannot be hoped for.
      The principles of "Safety First" and the training given the men at the various rescue stations are steps in the right direction and will be a great help in lessening the number of accidents and alleviating the sufferings of injured men.
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Benton Mine Resuce Training Areas
Photograph from Coal Age 11
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1915 Annual Coal Report 4 Introductory
      It is a source of gratification to this department to note the fact that several conventions where competitive drills have been given in first aid and rescue work have been held in various parts of the State during the past year.
 
January 2, 1915 Coal Age 14
New Rescue Station at Herrin, Ill.
      The mine-rescue car attached to the Benton station of the Illinois Mine-Rescue Station Commission has been ordered to Herrin, for the purpose of establishing a permanent substation at that city, Walter Scott, of Harrisburg, and Walter Nichols, of Benton, are to be in charge.
      There are three mine-rescue stations under the control of the Commission. These are located at La Salle, Springfield and Benton respectively. Up to this time, a car has been attached to each station, so that the course of training and instruction might be taken by men who were unable to come to any of the three centers. The cars have been on the road for over three years, and that from Benton is the first to be given a permanent location. It is probable that the other two cars will be similarly located after the most suitable cities have been determined.
      A committee representing the operators, miners and the city officials of Herrin met with the Mine-Rescue Commission at its last meeting, and presented the request of Herrin for the establishment of a substation. This committee consisted of James S. Reed, state mine inspector, William Burton, board member of the United Mine Workers of America, Mayor C. E. Anderson, of Herrin, Miloi McGowan, J. F. Goalby and Evan D. John.
      The car has been placed on the Chicago & Carterville spur, and has a telephone so that it may called at any time. the city council of Herrin placed two rooms in its new city hall at the disposal of Messrs. Scott nd Nichols, and a large room on East Cherry St. has been fitted up for training work.
      The next legislature will be asked to appropriate sufficient funds to establish a station at Herrin similar to those already erected at Benton, Springfield and La Salle.
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1916 Annual Coal Report 5 Introductory
      During the year 165 men lost their lives and 1,305 were injured, so as to lose 30 or more days time, while attending to their duties in and about the mines.
      It is very gratifying to be able to state that the mining industry is being placed on a higher plane, the mines are undergoing improvements along modern and scientific lines, wash-houses for the men erected, training in rescue and first aid work maintained and accelerated, and the work of the State Inspectors is more efficient and scientific.
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1917 Annual Coal Report 6 Mine Rescue Stations for the period extending from January 1, 1915, to July 1, 1917
Mine Rescue Stations Division
During this period, the work of the mine rescue stations was supervised by the following commission, appointed by Governor E. F. Dunne :
Representing the State Mine Inspectors : Thomas H. Devlin, Assumption.
Representing the Coal Miners : Fernand Bernard, Westville ; John Slattery, Toluca.
Representing the Coal Mine Operators: Thomas Jeremiah, Willisville; George H. Deemy, Peoria.
Representing the Department of Mining of the University of Illinois : Harry H. Stock, Urbana.
Representing the Federal Bureau of Mines: Joseph A. Holmes, Washington, D. C.
      (Upon the death of Dr. Holmes in August, 1915, Van H. Manning of Washington, D. C, was appointed as his successor.)
 
Superintendents of Rescue Stations
LaSalle - Thomas Rogers.
Springfield - Thomas English.
Benton - James Towal.
Duquoin - James Robertson.
Herrin - James Weir.
Harrisburg - Alexander Skelton.
 
Changes Made in the Work.
During the year previous to January 1, 1915, certificates had been given to miners completing a course of six lessons in helmet work and passing the test. Experience had demonstrated that six lessons were not sufficient to ensure competent and efficient apparatus wearers, and beginning January 1, the course was increased to twelve lessons.
      The three mine rescue cars had been touring the State the past three years, instructing miners in first aid and helmet work. The commission came to the conclusion that the project was not achieving its purpose, viz : the permanent organization of local first aid teams and mine rescue corps. In many instances, the cars had to be stationed on side-tracks some distance from the town, making it inconvenient for the miners to visit them; furthermore, limited space on the cars did not permit either helmet work or first aid to be taught in a satisfactory manner, and halls had to be rented in the town for teaching purposes.
      Experience in helmet work had proved to the commission the comparative uselessness of giving helmet training to men at mines where there were no helmets. As soon as the car left with its equipment of apparatus, the men, for lack of apparatus, had no opportunity to keep in training. Apparatus worn by a half trained man, or by one not in recent and constant training is not only dangerous to the wearer but to the men with him. The commission therefore called in the three cars in March, 1915, placing them in the car barns at the LaSalle, Springfield and Benton stations, and arranged for first aid instruction to be given by instructors, who could cover their itinerary more rapidly by regular train than by arranging for the transportation and parking of special cars.
      Since each station's work was in charge of a superintendent and assistant, the commission concluded that the office of Mine Rescue Station Manager, carrying a salary of $3,000 per annum, was not necessary, and recommended to the Governor that the position be declared vacant. Governor Dunne approved this course, and the position was abolished on April 1, 1915.
      Previous to November, 1915, the three sub-stations located respectively at Herrin, Harrisburg and Duquoin depended on local volunteer helmet teams, serving without pay. As a result, the personnel of the teams was constantly changing, and with no dependable team, the superintendent of the sub-station, with equipment of oxygen breathing apparatus, was practically helpless if called to a mine fire or explosion. Therefore, in November, 1915, the commission directed the three sub-station superintendents to select a local team of five miners, said men to undergo a rigid physical examination by a competent physician, the team to practice mine rescue work not less than two hours each week, and to be paid for such practice work by the State. As a result, the State now has six dependable mine rescue teams composed of miners, familiar with local mining conditions, and ready to respond to calls for assistance at mine fires or explosions.
 
      In the recent reorganization of the administrative branch of the Illinois Government, effective July 1, 1917, the Mine Rescue Station Commission was abolished, the stations coming under the management of the Department of Mines and Minerals, and named "Division of Mine Rescue and First Aid."
Station Staff.
Thomas Rogers, Superintendent, Mine Rescue Station, LaSalle.
Thomas English, Superintendent, Mine Rescue Station, Springfield.
James Towal, Superintendent, Mine Rescue Station, Benton.
James Weir, Superintendent, Mine Rescue Station, Herrin.
James Robertson, Superintendent, Mine Rescue Station, Duquoin.
Alex. Skelton, Superintendent, Mine Rescue Station, Harrisburg.
      The highest degree of efficiency possible in mine rescue methods can be attained only when each mining locality has its local teams of trained miners, familiar with the inside workings of the mines, and the Department of Mines and Minerals will make every possible effort, by cooperation with the parties at interest, the miners and operators, to bring about this ideal condition.
      Although the indiscriminate training of miners who have no access to apparatus has been abandoned as not feasible and conducive to efficient rescue work, the station superintendents are ready on call to train local helmet teams anywhere in the State, and have instructions to arrange with the coal companies to make regular and close inspection of privately owned apparatus. A first aid instructor will be sent anywhere in the State upon application from a class numbering at least twelve members.
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1918 Annual Coal Report 7 Mine Rescue Stations Division
Superintendents of Rescue Stations
LaSalle - Alexander Skelton.
Springfield - Thomas English.
Benton - James Weir.
Duquoin - James Robertson.
Herrin - Thomas Rogers.
Harrisburg - Job Richards (Temporary).
 
Certificates Issued.
      During the past year 436 certificates have been issued, as follows: 143 to miners completing the mine rescue course; 144 to miners completing the first aid course; 139 to women, boy and girl scouts completing the first aid course.
      Ribbon badges have been given to 51 boys and girls under 16 years of age completing the first aid course.
 
Station Staff.
Alex. Skelton, Superintendent, Mine Rescue Station, LaSalle.
Thomas English, Superintendent, Mine Rescue Station, Springfield.
James Weir, Superintendent, Mine Rescue Station, Benton.
Thomas Rogers, Superintendent, Mine Rescue Station, Herrin.
James Robertson, Superintendent, Mine Rescue Station, Duquoin.
James McNabb, Superintendent, Mine Rescue Station, Harrisburg.
      Each of the six stations has a local team of five miners, who have undergone a physical examination by a physician. The teams practicing mine rescue work not less than two hours a week.
      Enough emphasis cannot be laid upon the danger of oxygen breathing apparatus when worn by men not in the best physical condition, or not in steady training as apparatus wearers. The weight of the apparatus, ranging from 40 to 50 lbs., its limited time of onygen supply -- one and one-half to two hours -- and the probability of a valve going wrong, make usage in serious work by one man, or even three men, far too dangerous to be attempted. No fewer than five men in a team should be permitted to engage in any apparatus work, even such as putting up a brattice not far from fresh air. It is far better to be overzealous in taking every precaution than risk the lives of one or two men sent in to undertake what is presumed to be a small job.
      The general opinion of the average miner and operator that oxygen apparatus is of such simple construction that any reasonably strong person could don a set after a few lessons, manipulate it with ease and safety, and be competent to enter a mine for exploration or life-saving purposes, is entirely wrong. Because of this general belief, far more is expected of the apparatus wearers than is possible even under the most favorable circumstances, and favorable circumstances do not customarily prevail in mine disasters.
      Not only is it essential that each member of a mine rescue team be trained to such a degree that he is automatically familiar with the manipulation of his apparatus, but he should have trained sufficiently with the team to be a coordinate, quickly responsive factor of it, so as to act with assurance in emergencies.
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1919 Annual Coal Report 8 Division of Mine Rescue and First Aid
The following is the second annual report of the Division of Mine Rescue and First Aid, and is for the year ending June 30, 1919.
      There are six stations maintained by the State under the control of a superintendent at the following named places: Springfield, LaSalle, Benton, Herrin, Harrisburg and Duquoin. The superintendents and teams that are kept in training at these stations answered a large number of calls during the year to explosions, fires, the sealing and unsealing of same.
      Nearly all of these calls came from the mines in the central, south central and southern part of the State where the coal is mined from the large mines by the room and pillar and panel system of mining and the coal is blasted either from the solid or after it has been undercut by the mining machines and where there is more or less explosive gas found in the mines.
      There were fewer calls this year than last and we are glad to note this fact because of the great danger in this kind of work.
 
Cooperative Work.
      During the year we have been working in cooperation with the Federal Bureau of Mines in the training of men in mine rescue and first aid work. Men taking the work at the stations were examined by the representatives of the Bureau and granted a certificate on such examination and those trained on the Federal Mine Rescue Car were examined by a superintendent in the Division of Mine Rescue and First Aid, and after passing such examination were granted a State certificate.
      The number of certificates granted during the year ending June 30, 1919:
Mine rescue 319 - First aid 566 - Total 885
 
Station Staff.
Alex. Skelton, Superintendent Mine Rescue Station, LaSalle,
Thos. English, Superintendent Mine Rescue Station, Springfield,
James Weir, Superintendent Mine Rescue Station, Benton,
Thos. Rogers, Superintendent Mine Rescue Station, Herrin,
James Robertson, Superintendent Mine Rescue Station, Duquoin,
Frank Patterson, Superintendent Mine Rescue Station, Harrisburg.
      Each of the six stations have a local team of five miners, who have undergone a physical examination by a physician. The teams practice mine rescue work not less than two hours a week, in this way the men are always in the best of shape in the event they are called upon to wear the apparatus after an explosion or fire.
      It is a very important factor that all persons who wear mine rescue apparatus should be of the very best physically, and should be well acquainted with the mechanism of the same. This can be done only by practice and study.
      Of the 319 men who finished the training the past year only a small number are so situated that they can be kept in training by using the apparatus at regular intervals.
      The general opinion that any reasonably strong person can don a set after a few lessons and wear it with ease and safety and be competent to enter a mine for exploration or life saving purposes is entirely wrong. Because of this general belief far more is expected of the apparatus wearers than is possible under the most favorable circumstances, and favorable circumstances do not customarily prevail in mine disasters or mine fires.
      The result of first aid work in Illinois cannot be too highly commended. It not only trains men immediately available for rescue work after accidents, but the treatment given the injured prevents unnecessary pain, weakness by loss of blood, wound infection, stiff joints, and sometimes prevents death. It gives stronger patients to the doctors in hospitals and homes and tends to more rapid recovery. It is also a prevention of accidents, as the training given the men tends to make them more careful in their daily work not only of themselves but of their fellow workmen. This is recognized by many of the coal companies who have expended considerable money in equipping rooms for first aid practice in the vicinity of their mines. It therefore is highly important that the training of mine workers and others in mine rescue and first aid must have a bearing on the reduction of accidents.
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1920 Annual Coal Report 12 Report of Mine Rescue and First Aid
The following is the third annual report of the Division of Mine Rescue and First Aid, and is for the year ending June 30, 1920.
Certificates Issued
      During the year 906 certificates have been issued as follows :
      Five hundred and thirty-five first-aid certificates to miners; 272 to miners completing the mine rescue work; 99 to women, boy, and girl students completing the first aid course.
      Badges have been given to 72 boys under the age of 16 completing the first aid course.
 
Station Staff
Alex. Skelton, Superintendent Mine Rescue Station, LaSalle,
Thos. English, Superintendent Mine Rescue Station, Springfield,
James Weir, Superintendent Mine Rescue Station, Benton,
Thos. Rogers, Superintendent Mine Rescue Station, Herrin,
James Robertson, Superintendent Mine Rescue Station, Duquoin,
Frank Patterson, Superintendent Mine Rescue Station, Harrisburg.
      Each of the six stations has a local team consisting of five miners, who have passed a physical examination. These teams practice mine rescue work two hours each week. It is very essential that all persons wearing the mine rescue apparatus should be physically fit, and should be well acquainted with the mechanism of the apparatus, hence the necessity for the constant practice and study, in case they should be called upon to wear the apparatus after a fire or explosion at a mine.
      The result of the first aid work in Illinois is very commendable. It has been carried on throughout the State during the last year very extensively, and a great deal of money has been expended by the different coal companies in furthering this work. It has a tendency to make the men more careful in their daily work, thus reducing the number of accidents.
      The Federal Bureau of Mines has cooperated with the Department of Mines through the Division of Mine Rescue and First Aid by sending one of its cars into the State to train men in mine rescue and first aid work, and also by sending their representatives to assist in the district and State first aid contests.
 

First-Aid and Rescue Contests
 
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1912
See : Gillespie, Macoupin County, Illinois Fist-Aid & Rescue Contests - December 10, 1912
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1913
1913 Rescue Contest winners
See : Gillespie, Macoupin County, Illinois
Fist-Aid & Rescue Contests - December 9, 1913
  Recue Contest Cuba Team
Oscar Cartlidge and Thomas English   Among the visitors were
Oscar Cartlidge, Manager of the State Rescue Stations;
and
Thomas English, Superintendent of the Springfield, Illinois Rescue Station.
Photographs from Coal Age 13
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1914
See : Gillespie, Macoupin County, Illinois Fist-Aid & Rescue Contests - December 8, 1914
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1915
Coal Age 11
State-Wide First-Aid Contest in Illinois
SYNOPSIS -- The labor unions in Fulton County, Illinois, all but one, financed this state-wide contest by giving 5¢ per member. The operators gave $10 per mine. One local union was represented by a competing team.
 
      The Fulton County First-Aid Association was organized in January of the present year with a large and enthusiastic membership, which immediately began planning ways and means to promote and encourage the first-aid cause in that district of Illinois.
      David Z. Thrush, state mine inspector, Farmington, was elected president; John Woods, miner, St. David, secretary; M. S. Coleman, superintendent Big Creek Coal Co., Canton, vice-president; Samuel McKinley, miner, Norris, treasurer.
      Shortly after the organization it was decided to hold a first-aid contest on May 1 which should be open to the entire state, and Oscar Cartlidge, chairman, Springfiled; James Taylor, Peoria; M. S. Coleman and William Spenny, Canton, were appointed to arrange a program and select the prizes.
      A finance committee was named, and the Canton Commercial Club offered $75, agreeing to settle any deficit that might exist after the contest was over. Mr. Woodruff was also active in assisting to carry out the thousand and one details that arise at an affair of this kind.
 
Due To Liability Of Unions and Operators
      Each local union in the county was requested to assess the membership 5¢ per capita, and each mine was asked to give $10. It is worthy of note, as indicating the interest in this work in Fulton county, that every mine paid the amount requested and also every local union but one.
      The program recorded below was followed to a successful conclusion, even to starting and finishing on time, which is rather unusual:
      At 9:30 a.m., parade of first-aid teams and mines, around City Square, headed by Joe Hooker Martialk Band. 10 a.m., address of welcome, by Mayor R. M. Kingsland, of Canton. 10:30 a.m., response by D. Z. Thrush. At 11 a.m., one-man event. First prize: Gold medal for contestant; bronze medal for subject: $10 cash. Second prize: Silver medal for contestant; bronze medal for subject: $5 cash. Third prize: Silver medal for contestant; bronze medal for subject; $2.50 cash. The event to be followed by dinner.
      At 1:30 p.m., team event for five or six men. First prize: American Mine Safety Association medals; a silver loving cup and $50 in cash. Second prize: Gold medal for each member of team and $30 in cash. Third prize: Silver medals for each member of the team and $15 in cash.
      Event for team of boys, 16 years old and under. First prize: Junior gold medal for each member. Second prize: Junior silver medal for each member.
      The prizes were awarded in the Princess Theater at the close of the contest. The appointed judges of events were: Judge-in-chief, Dr. J. E. Coleman. Judges: Dr. P. S. Scholes, of Canton; Dr. J. C. Simmons, of Norris; Dr. R. G. Richards, of St. David; Dr. Will Plumer, of Farmington; Dr. D. S. Ray, of Cuba. Five others were afterward added do that each of the entering teams had a judge.
      At 6:30 p.m., a lecture by W. D. Ryan of the United States Bureau of Mines, at Princess Theater. 7:30 p.m., free moving picture show in the Princess Theater showing mine-safety methods. Reels loaned by the United States Bureau of Mines.
      The following discounts were used, being those recommended by the committee of the American Mine Safety Association, which was appointed to regulate first-aid training and contests:
  Per Cent
1.Not doing the most important thing first6
2.Failure of captain to command properly1
3.Slowness in work and lack of attention 2
4.Failure to entirely cover wound or ignorance of location of injury4
5.Ineffective artificial respiration 11
6.Splints improperly padded or applied6
7.Tight, loose or improperly applied bandages5
8.Insecure or "granny" knot4
9.Unclean first-aid material3
10.Failure to have on hand sufficient and proper material to complete a dressing 3
11.Lack of neatness2
12.Awkward handling of patient4
13.Assistance lent by patient 3
14.Tourniquet improperly applied 7
15.Failure to stop bleeding 8
16.Not treating shock 5
17.Failure to be aseptic7
18.Incorrect treatment 12
19.Failure to temporarily control hemorrhage until tourniquet is applied7
  ____
100

      Samuel Pascoe, miner, of Farmington, was named officer of the day and was delegated to present all prizes, except the medals of the American Mine Safety Association, which were presented by the writer (Oscar Cartlidge, Manager, Illinois Mine-Rescue Stations).
1915 First Place Contest Winners   1915 Second Place Contest Winners
1915 Third Place Contest Winners   1915 Juniors Contest Winners
Photographs from Coal Age 11
 
The teams were as follows:
  1. Local Union No. 860, St. David, Ill.; W. Thomas, captain.
  2. Big Creek Coal Co., St. David, Ill.; K. Hogan, captain.
  3. Big Muddy Coal & Iron Co., Herrin, Ill.; B. Milam, captain
  4. Cuba team, Cuba, Ill.; J. Cooper, captain.
  5. Brewster & Evans Coal Co., Peoria, Ill; T. Trigg, captain.
  6. LaSalle Mine Rescue Station, LaSalle, Ill.; W. Kemery, captain.
  7. Bunsen Coal Co., Danville, Ill.; J. Krainock, captain.
  8. Farmington team, Farmington, Ill.; W. Craine, captain.
  9. Gillespie First-Aid Association, Gillespie, Ill.; G. Mauchlin, captain.
10. Gillespie team No. 1, Gillespie, Ill.; J. Struthers, captain.
11. Dewmaine team, Dewmaine, Ill.; E. Russell, captain.
 
Following are the junior teams:
Farmington team, Farmington, Ill.; H. Steel, captain.
St. David team, St. David, Ill.; L. Canfield, captain.
 
      Three problems were given in the team event, and the average rating received determined the standing of the team, the judges changing places each time. The problems were handed to the team captains in sealed envelopes and they were allowed 5 min. in which to read them over.
 
Problem No. 1 -- Compound fracture of left thigh with profuse arterial bleeding; compound fracture of right forearm; cut from outer corner of right eye to top of right ear with bleeding. Time 10 min.
 
Problem No. 2 -- Fracture of pelvis, left side. Fracture of sixth, seventh and eighth ribs, right side. Fracture of left elbow. Fracture in right shoulder joint. Deep laceration of calf of leg, right side, with profuse venous hemorrhage. Deep scalp wound with hemorrhage from right corner of eye to above right ear. Time 18 min.
 
Problem No. 3 -- Powder keg exploded, burning miner severely on face, neck, chest, right arm and both hands. Carry 50 ft. on improvised stretcher and treat. Time 12 min.
 
The standing of the teams at the conclusion of event follows:
 Ratings
TeamEvent
1
Event
2
Event
3
Average
for events
 1 -- Union 86099849893 2/3
  2 -- Big Creek Coal Co.1008810096
  3 -- Big Muddy Coal Co.1001009498
  4 -- Cuba100929696
  5 -- B. & E. Coal Co.85819787 2/3
  6 -- LaSalle Rescue Sta.95919393
  7 -- Bunsen Coal Co.971009497 1/3
  8 -- Farmington.90789688
  9 -- Gillespie F. - A. Assoc.98829891 1/3
10 -- Gillespie No. 1.98999898 1/3
11 -- Dewmaine.87769586

      This gave first place to the Superior Coal Co. No. 1, of Gillespie; second place to the Big Muddy Coal & Iron Co., of Herrin; third to the Bunsen Coal Co., of Danville.
      The Bunsen and Gillespie teams have competed in many events, and neither team has ever failed to be among the prize winners. The former team is the present champion of the United States, having won that honor at the Terre Haute meet last year.
      Nos. 2 and 4 having tied for the highest score made by a Fulton County team, with 96 each, the captains drew lots to see which should get a Johnston & Johnston first-aid cabinet presented by B. Greenwell, with the result that it went to No. 4, the Cuba team.
      Two teams entered the junior event, and the boys did creditable work, attracting fully as much attention as the regular teams. The first prize went to St. David and the second to Farmington.
      Forty-two men entered for the single event, the problem being:
One man event: Miner overcome by gas in 3-ft. seam; simple fracture of right arm; remove 20 ft. and treat.
      Six tied for the first place and so the following problem was give:
Fracture of left knee cap; severe scalp laceration back of right ear. The result was that James McKenna, Big Creek Coal Co. No. 2, was declared winner of first prize; Robert Weir, Superior Coal Co., Gillespie, second; Charles Miller. Superior Coal Co., Gillespie, third.
 
      The four reels of picture loaned by the Bureau of Mines were greatly enjoyed by a crowded house, as was the address by W. D. Ryan. He was formerly secretary and treasurer of the Illinois United Mine Workers' organization and hence has a large acquaintance in Fulton County.
      W. W. Fleming, a Bureau of Mines first-aid worker, on my invitation, was sent to assist in promoting the contest, and spent about 30 days in the county. Much of the success of the meet, which was pronounced by several competent persons the best ever held in the sate, was due to his effort and that of the president, D. Z. Thrush. To them, the miners' and operators' committees, and the Canton Commercial Club too much praise cannot be accorded.
 
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1916
See : Gillespie, Macoupin County, Illinois Fist-Aid & Rescue Contests - May 20, 1916
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1917 Annual Coal Report 6 Mine Rescue Stations for the period extending from January 1, 1915, to July 1, 1917
First Aid Contests.
In order to encourage and maintain interest in first aid and helmet work, the Commission cooperated with the Perry County Fair Association in having a mine explosion demonstration and first aid contest at Pinckneyville, September 22, 1915. giving gold medals to the first aid winners. Seven first aid teams from over the State competed. The Benton Mine Rescue Station team gave a demonstration of rescue work by means of oxygen breathing apparatus in an imitation mine gallery constructed of timber and tar paper.
      The Commission also cooperated with the United Mine Workers and Commercial Association of Springvalley in a demonstration given at Springvalley, September 9, 1916. fifteen first aid teams from over the State competing. The La Salle Mine Rescue Station team gave a demonstration of rescue work in the miniature mine.
- - - - -       - - - - -       - - - - -       - - - - -       - - - - -
1919 Annual Coal Report 8 First Aid Contest
      In June there was a very successful contest held in the second inspection district at Peoria, the result of a campaign that had been made in that part of the State by Messrs. Miller and Lacy of the Federal Bureau of Mines assisted by Messrs. Kidd of the Division of Inspection, and Skelton and English of the Division of Mine Rescue and First Aid. Later contests were held at other places throughout the State ending with a State contest which was held at Springfield on September 5.
- - - - -       - - - - -       - - - - -       - - - - -       - - - - -
1920 Annual Coal Report 12 First Aid Contests
      Several district contests were held throughout the State and on September 5, 1919, the State contest was held in the State Armory in which 22 teams from all parts of the State competed for the prizes given, the three teams making the best rating were sent to the National contest at Pittsburgh.
      Much interest is being manifested in the work of first aid by many of the larger coal companies of the State and the work of the Division of Mine Rescue and First Aid is increasing, the demand for assistance in the training of classes making it necessary to employ temporary men at stations several times during the year.
      Men who are given the first aid training at one of the mine rescue stations are able to render valuable service in case of accidents and must necessarily be better employees.
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See : Gillespie, Macoupin County, Illinois Fist-Aid & Rescue Contests
      December 10, 1912; December 9, 1913; December 8, 1914; May 20, 1916

Sources :
 
1 Thirtieth Annual Coal Report of Illinois, 1911
                State Mining Board -- Springfield, Illinois; Illinois State Journal Co.. State Printers, 1912

2 Thirty-Second Annual Coal Report of Illinois, 1913
                State Mining Board -- Springfield, Illinois; Illinois State Journal Co.. State Printers, 1914

3 Thirty-Third Annual Coal Report of Illinois, 1914
                State Mining Board -- Springfield, Illinois; Illinois State Journal Co.. State Printers, 1914

4 Thirty-Fourth Annual Coal Report of Illinois, 1915
                State Mining Board -- Springfield, ILL, Illinois State Journal Co., State Printers, 1915

5 Thirty-Fifth Annual Coal Report of Illinois, 1916
                State Mining Board -- Springfield, ILL.; Illinois State Journal Co., State Printers 1916

6 Thirty-Sixth Annual Coal Report of Illinois, 1917
                Department of Mines and Minerals; Year Ended June 30, 1917
                Springfield: Illinois State Journal, State Printers, 1917

7 Thirty-Seventh Annual Coal Report of Illinois, 1918
                Department of Mines and Minerals -- Springfield, ILL.; Illinois State Journal Co., State Printers 1918

8 Thirty-Eighth Annual Coal Report of Illinois, 1919
                Department of Mines and Minerals -- Springfield, ILL.; Illinois State Journal Co., State Printers 1919

10 Coal Age Vol 7 No. 7; January 16, 1915
11 Coal Age Vol 7 No. 24; June 12, 1915
12 Thirty-Ninth Annual Coal Report of Illinois, 1920
                Department of Mines and Minerals; 7 -- Springfield: Illinois State Journal Co., State Printers, 1920

13 Coal Age Vol 4 No. 26; December 27, 1913
14 Coal Age Vol 7 No. 1; January 2, 1915
15 A Compilation of the Reports of the Mining Industry of Illinois
                from the Earliest Records to Close of the Year 1930
                Department of Mines and Minerals; Springfield, Illinois


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