Three fire departments in Ohio will receive grain in rescue tubes and training in 2020 as part of Nationwide’s seventh annual Nominate Your Fire Department Contest. The Laura Fire Department, Berlin Township Fire Department and Camden Township Fire Department will be well-equipped to help rescue farmers or grain handlers who may become entrapped in grain.
In addition, first responders receive four hours of training with a state-of-the-art grain entrapment simulator, which is loaded on a trailer and able to hold about 100 bushels of grain.
Every year, thousands of farmers and commercial grain handlers risk their lives by entering grain bins to remove clumped or rotted grain. As rural communities have come to know all too well, an accident in a grain bin can quickly turn deadly. In just seconds, adults can sink to their waists in flowing grain, rendering them completely trapped without the proper rescue devices.
To lead the fight against these all-too-common accidents, the country’s leading insurer of farms and ranches, Nationwide, in partnership with the National Education Center for Agricultural Safety, is awarding 41 fire departments across the country.
In 2014, Nationwide initiated its Grain Bin Safety advocacy campaign to educate those entering grain bins about the hazards involved and the importance of implementing safe entry procedures. A central piece of the campaign, the Nominate Your Fire Department Contest, aims to address the lack of specialized resources available to rural fire departments that are responding to bin entrapments. Since beginning the efforts, Nationwide has awarded grain rescue tubes and training to 152 fire departments in 30 states.
“We began our Grain Bin Safety campaign in 2014 to support the agriculture community and put an end to avoidable deaths from individuals entering grain bins without recognizing the dangers and taking precautions,” said Brad Liggett, president of Nationwide Agribusiness.
“Thanks to the generous and increasing support of our partners, I’m extremely proud to say that we’re providing more rescue tubes and training to first responders this year than we have ever before.”
NECAS, based out of Peosta, Iowa, will deliver the tubes and training to the winning fire departments throughout 2020. Since 2014, four fire departments have put their rescue tubes and training to action by rescuing workers trapped in grain bins.
According to United Press International reports, grain bin deaths spiked last year and in early 2020 due to last season’s wet harvest. In February 2020, U.S. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue brought a national spotlight to Nationwide’s efforts by proclaiming Feb. 16-22 as National Grain Bin Safety Week.
“It’s as important as ever to be following proper safety precautions when entering a bin,” Liggett said. “Our goal is to continue these efforts until we can ensure every rural fire department has access to these critical rescue resources.”
The program is supported by Nationwide and generous partners.
Photo caption: Firefighters in Crawford County were awarded a grain bin rescue tube in 2019 as part of Nationwide’s annual Nominate Your Fire Department’s contest to raise awareness of grain bin safety.