On Thursday, January 17, the mine rescue team at our Kittilä mine received a request from the Regional Rescue Service of Lapland for assistance in fighting a house fire in a village located about 20 kilometers from the mine site. The team immediately sprung into action and were ready to go within ten minutes.
In addition to the mine’s rescue team, rescue units based in Kittilä and Levi also participated in the operation and in the end their combined efforts were successful, and the fire was prevented from spreading to other buildings.
“On behalf of the homeowners, I’d like to thank the mine’s rescue team,” says Jorma Ojala, Chief of the Kittilä Department of the Regional Rescue Service of Lapland.“While we were extremely happy to receive assistance from the rescue team, it was, of course, the people who raised the alarm who were particularly relieved to have help arrive so quickly at the scene.”
Jani Jauhojärvi, the mine department’s Health and Safety Coordinator, explains that the mine is pleased to dispatch its rescue team to assist in local rescue operations whenever possible. “In the event of an accident, it is critical to get help on-site as soon as possible. In Lapland, where distances are long, this is often difficult. Being able to help in any way possible is important to our rescue team, and I’m proud that so many of our employees choose to get involved,” says Jani. Currently, about 80 people participate in the mine’s various rescue activities, both underground and on the surface.
“We work in close collaboration with the Regional Rescue Service,” continues Jani. “We practice together regularly, and employees from the Rescue Service and first-response units also visit our mine. Industrial facilities are considered unique challenges and our mine site particularly so as it is currently constantly undergoing changes as a result of the construction underway.”
Several members of the Kittilä mine rescue team are also actively involved in volunteer fire brigades in Kittilä and other municipalities in the region. “This brings several benefits to both parties,” explains Jani, who also serves as the chief of the Kittilä Volunteer Fire Brigade.
Jorma Ojala explains that the mine’s rescue team also assisted after a traffic accident a few weeks earlier. “Because mines are often located where there are no other operations nearby our Kittilä mine contributes to general safety in the region a fact that is sometimes overlooked. Over the years, there have been several occasions where the mine rescue team’s assistance has been critical to ensuring the best outcome possible. We greatly appreciate the support from Agnico Eagle and the entire Kittilä team and would like to express our gratitude – thank you!”