WBFD learns grain bin rescue
by Gregory R. Norfleet · News · July 05, 2013

The National Education Center for Agriculture Safety on June 26 trained West Branch Fire Department firefighters to use a new tube device for grain bin rescues.

Using a scaled-down grain bin built on a trailer, the rescuers drive the edges of each of the four sides of the tube into the grain around the victim, then clasp them together and drive them down further.

The victim is then given a scoop or a Shop Vac to empty the grain around him or her enough to free them to climb out.

NECAS trainer Dan Neenan said that, inside the tube, the grain from a personís knees up to their waist weighs about 300 pounds.

NECAS spent a couple hours with farmers and representatives of consumer co-ops and agriculture businesses, then spent a few more hours training firefighters and allowing each of them to practice using the device.

Monsanto also sent along a video and camera crew to conduct interviews and record the demonstrations to produce a safety video.

Sarah Billeter, a West Branch farmer, conducted a fund-raising effort to purchase the $9,000 device for the WBFD, and she was on hand for the training.

The tube device has, on the inside, bars that allow the victim to hold on so they do not sink further into the grain, or they can use the bars as a ladder to climb out.

Firefighters also learned how to prepare for particular injuries associated with sinking into grain bins, like compression injuries.

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