Two Ohio fire departments win grain rescue tubes, training to help save lives

Two fire departments in Ohio received life-saving grain rescue tubes and training as part of Nationwide’s fourth annual Nominate Your Fire Department Contest.

The Florence Township Fire Department (Williams County) and Blanchard Township-Gilboa Fire Department (Putnam County) are now well equipped to help rescue people who may become entrapped in grain during the normal course of their job. First responders received six hours of training with a state-of-the-art grain entrapment simulator, which is loaded on a 20-foot trailer and able to hold about 100 bushels of grain.

Since 2014, Nationwide’s annual safety contest has awarded tubes and training to 48 fire departments across 18 states. A record 883 nominations were submitted this year, and Nationwide chose 16 winners in 10 states with large rural farming communities.

“It only takes seconds to become entrapped in grain and less than a minute to become completely engulfed,” said Brad Liggett, president of Nationwide Agribusiness, the No. 1 farm insurer. “Once grain is above knee-level, it is nearly impossible to get out without assistance. Until we can convince all farmers and other grain handlers to develop a zero-entry mentality, we will strive to make tubes and rescue training as widely available as possible.”

A recent study by Purdue University found that 29 entrapments were reported across the country in 2016 — up from 24 reported in 2015. Of the 24 documented entrapments in 2015, 14 resulted in death (a 58 percent fatality rate). There were 38 documented entrapments and 17 deaths in 2014.

Entrapments typically happen when a farm worker enters a bin or silo to dislodge clumps of grain during loading or unloading and becomes engulfed when the grain breaks loose. Unfortunately, many fire departments and other first responders lack the equipment and training to perform a successful grain bin rescue.

Nationwide and its partners continue to raise awareness about grain bin dangers, provide education and share best practices in safe grain bin usage. In total, the contest has awarded tubes and training to four dozen fire departments since 2014. One of those winners — the Westphalia Fire Department in Kansas — used their new skills in 2015 to rescue a man who became entrapped in a grain bin.

Grain Bin Safety Week 2017 is supported by Nationwide, CHS, West Side Salvage, Specialty Risk Insurance, ABIS, KC Supply Co., The Scoular Company, Arthur J. Gallagher & Co., NOHR Wortmann Engineering, Heard Insurance Agency, Ruff & Assoc Inc., Triple M Farms, Sukup, Sump Saver, National Farm Medicine Center and the National Education Center for Agricultural Safety.

Caption: Since 2014, more than four dozen fire departments throughout the country have been awarded grain bin rescue tubes and rescue training through Nationwide’s Nominate Your Fire Department contest.

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