Mter a methane explosion in a coal mine a pre-determined crisis management procedure is instigated. As the process rapidly evolves the inevitable question arises -are personnel trapped underground, are they alive and can they be rescued without putting the lives of the rescue crew at risk? This is a very emotive question with many sub-questions such as; could anybody have survived, is there the potential for a secondary explosion and is there a 'window of opportunity' before that secondary explosion occurs? To detemline if that window of opportunity exists two fundamental elements must be in place; a method of determining the atmosphere at key points in the mine and a method of predicting the course of change of that atmosphere with respect to time. The first element can be achieved if the tube bundle system is intact and drawing samples from known points, alternatively boreholes can be drilled from the surface. The second element can be realised by utilising a sequence of computer generated control charts which have a time axis, a percentage combustibles axis, the upper and lower explosive limits of the cUITent atmosphere and a prediction option which allows the user to look at the potential changes in the atmosphere over a set period of time. These control charts would be part of the mines on-going crisis management system rather than a tool to be used after an explosion had occurred.