Chiang Rai mountain image by Tak.Wing / Flickr</a.

Employees of the Cranberry-based safety tech company MSA know their work can help save lives. They create equipment that makes dangerous work like mining and military operations a little less dangerous.

But recently, MSA‘s Pittsburgh-area employees had the additional thrill of watching, along with the rest of the world, as their equipment was used to rescue the 12 young Thai soccer players and their coach from the Tham Luang caves in northern Thailand.

With the cave complex flooded and the boys stranded more than two miles from the entrance, rescuers were racing against time. Summer is monsoon season in Thailand and more relentless rains were due to fall, so experts agreed the boys would have to be brought out through the flooded passages with the help of trained divers and specialized equipment.

It happens that Thailand’s Royal Navy buys MSA’s self-contained breathing units (SCBAs) through a distributor in southeast Asia. Those turned out to be a vital component in rescuing the boys and their coach, allowing them to breathe as they made the difficult journey through the flooded caves.

MSA’s employees, like so many of us, were struck by the plight of these young kids. And they were thrilled, as all 12 members of the Wild Boar soccer team and their coach were rescued, to know that their equipment had helped. When MSA posted the information on their internal employee website, more than a thousand employees (nearly one-quarter of the company’s global workforce of about 4,700 employees) opened the story.

Many commented enthusiastically, posting things like “I’m proud to work at MSA” and “This is awesome,” says Mark Deasy, MSA’s director of global public relations and corporate communications.

In the days since the rescue, the company has been told that the Thai government is looking into setting up a museum at the rescue site and may display some of MSA’s equipment there.

This actually isn’t the first time MSA was involved in a rescue as the world was watching, and wouldn’t be the first time their gear is displayed in a museum: “When the 33 Chilean miners were rescued,” Deasy says, “they were all wearing MSA hardhats.”

Two of those hardhats are now in the Smithsonian Museum in Washinton, D.C.

Melissa Rayworth

Kidsburgh Editor Melissa Rayworth specializes in stories about culture, gender, design and parenting. She has written for a variety of outlets in the U.S. and Asia, and is a frequent contributor to The...