Emergency refuge shelters are built for the crucial purpose of providing immediate shelter and life-sustaining supplies to underground workers in the event of an emergency such as fire, ventilation failure or sudden release of gas. Inside, adequate breathing air, food and water are provided for a designated number of people over a designated period of time.
The problem is, however, that in a situation where a chamber is necessary, there exists a potentially terrifying communication block between personnel in the shelter and surface operations and rescue teams. Those on the outside often have no idea what is happening with those trapped underground and, in turn, individuals in the shelter have no idea what is happening above.
While potentially vital to survival, retreating into an enclosed area to sit and await rescue is undoubtedly daunting. A lack of connection to the outside world only adds to that fear.
Bridging the communication gap
By utilising Strata Worldwide’s DigitalBRIDGE powered by RFI Technology Solutions, mines can cost effectively connect their refuge shelters to the mine’s communication network and open a lifeline of communication resources.
With a simple installation of robust coaxial cable, which carries both power and data, mines can extend connectivity from the availability of fibre to the location of the refuge shelters. Daily remote monitoring safeguards the security of the shelters, and helps to ensure that they remain ready for use.
In emergency status, DigitalBRIDGE’s high-speed digital capabilities can provide live video streaming from onboard cameras, voice communications, personnel RFID tracking and multiple atmospheric monitoring functions from both inside and outside shelters, including occupancy, gas levels, temperature, pressure and humidity.
Moreover, all these activities can be accomplished simultaneously.
Readiness and peace of mind
Ensuring that emergency shelters remain secure and operationally ready is vital. Simplifying the process and establishing remote monitoring, not only provides real-time awareness, but could save operations significant time, money and labour.
In an emergency, establishing audible and visual connection to underground personnel not only provides crucial information for rescue operations, but also offers an unparalleled level of support and comfort for all of those involved.
Power and data
StrataConnect DigitalBRIDGE is a multi-drop power-over-ethernet (PoE) cable network that can be quickly installed by on-site personnel, and is fully recoverable. It serves as a universal platform for data and power to any PoE networked devices in the mine.
Using standard procedures to tap into the coaxial cable, personnel attach the DigitalBRIDGE Quadport to provide up to four, high-powered PoE ports for the connection of devices such as Wi-Fi access points; digital cameras; atmospheric monitoring stations (AMS); PLCs; mine phones; and tracking readers.
Data from these devices will be transported via the DigitalBRIDGE network to the mine’s existing fibre, up to the surface. Alternatively, DigitalBRIDGE can be used as a stand-alone system, delivering the information directly to a central control room.
For more information please contact:
Unit 1 /8 Channel Road
Mayfield West NSW 2304
Tel: +61 2 4960 9705
Strata Worldwide – www.strataworldwide.com
RFI Technology Solutions – www.rfi.com.au