Mining has had an enormous impact on the Ruhr region in Germany. With the onset of industrialization, more and more mines were built, people migrated to the Ruhr area and the region became Germany's most important industrial location. But working conditions were tough, with serious accidents occurring in the mines.
Due to the poor safety situation, mine rescue teams were founded at the beginning of the 20th century. Their task was to rescue miners, to fight fires and to secure valuable objects. They quickly became the mine's elite force.
Even though the long history of coal in the Ruhr region came to an end in 2018, one last mine rescue still trains in Herne today. The 121 members must pass five physically demanding exercises each year to be part of the mine rescue. The long tradition behind the mine rescue service and the sense of community within the force are still a source of identity for many members today.
Only when the last mine has been finally cleared will the mine rescue no longer be needed.