Every time farmers and grain handlers step into a grain bin to remove clumped or rotting grain, they risk their lives. It only takes seconds to be completely engulfed in flowing grain or suffocated and overcome by oxygen-deficient atmospheres. Added to the risk is a lack of equipment and training needed by local fire departments and emergency responders to rescue workers who have been trapped in grain bins or other storage facilities.
Nationwide created the national Nominate Your Fire Department Contest, in conjunction with Grain Bin Safety Week, as an advocacy program to educate those entering grain bins. The program’s aim is to implement safe entry procedures and address the lack of specialized resources available to rural fire departments that are responding to bin entrapments. According to researchers at Purdue University, more than 900 cases of grain engulfment have been reported with a fatality rate of 62% in the past 50 years, with the highest, single-year incident total of 38 documented grain entrapments resulting in 18 deaths in 2014.
Nationwide, the No. 1 farm insurer in the United States, announced 34 fire departments winning Grain Bin Rescue Tubes and training in this year’s contest, including four departments from Ohio:
• Greenville Township Emergency Services – Greenville
• Hartford Fire Department – Croton
• Wauseon Fire Department – Wauseon
• Barlow Volunteer Fire Department – Vincent
Since the contest’s inception in 2014, nearly 3,000 departments have been nominated and 111 fire departments across 26 states have received tubes and hands-on training.
The 2020 contest begins Jan. 1, 2020.