NIOSH Mine Emergency Escape Simulation Technology


As a way to both study the mine emergency escape system and to supplement the existing training, NIOSH researchers developed the Mine Emergency Escape Training (or MEET) software. MEET uses a virtual immersive environment to create an underground coal mine escape experience focusing on knowledge of escape procedures while utilizing judgment and decision-making skills.

MEET uses a virtual immersive environment to create an underground coal mine escape experience focusing on knowledge of escape procedures while utilizing judgment and decision-making skills. While NIOSH uses MEET as a research tool, others can use it in new miner, annual refresher, or emergency response training.

MEET is appropriate for underground coal miners at any skill or experience level.

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NIOSH is offering the MEET software to developers interested in tailoring the training as well as to mine safety and health trainers, safety managers and others who can use it “out-of-the-box” for their training needs.

The software, already used to train over 1,000 miners, encourages participants to use critical thinking while escaping a virtual mine emergency. When used in a training scenario, the included instructor’s guide contains questions moderators can ask during the after-action debriefing to reinforce learning and stimulate discussion among participants about emergency evacuations. The software includes three distinct components:

  1. A pre-evacuation tutorial where users practice operating keyboard and mouse controls, interface with the simulation, and learn about tools available to aid their escape (Figure 1);
  2. The underground simulation where users start at predetermined locations in a virtual underground coal mine, and must evacuate to safety (Figure 2);
  3. A post-evacuation debriefing tool where the moderator reviews routes participants followed, actions they took, and decisions made.

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NIOSH is making the MEET software available, as is, for download by mine safety and health trainers, safety managers and others.