Each year, some farmers risk their lives when they enter large grain bins to remove clumped or rotting grain while machinery is still running. Much like quicksand, flowing grain can bury a worker within seconds.
Because these accidents have become all too common, Nationwide is launching its eighth annual Nominate Your Fire Department Contest in conjunction with Grain Bin Safety Week. The goal is to prevent injuries in the first place by promoting safe bin-entry procedures, such as maintaining quality grain, testing bin atmosphere for toxic gases and wearing proper safety equipment.
Since 2014, Nationwide has awarded grain bin rescue tubes and training to 152 fire departments in 29 states. The Westphalia Fire Department in Kansas and the Glenville Fire Department in Minnesota have both put their tubes and training to action — saving the lives of farmers trapped in grain bins.
“It felt like an eternity,” said Glenville Fire Chief Matt Webb, who rescued a man who had fallen into a bin of rotting corn. “But the grain rescue training came back quickly, and it was a relief we had our own equipment. The program that’s out there for these tubes and training is such a life-saving resource in our county.”
In 2019, there were 38 grain bin entrapments according to Purdue University. That’s a 26.7% increase from 2018.
To help prevent further deaths and injuries, Nationwide collaborates each year with the National Education Center for Agricultural Safety to provide safety training. The director of NECAS travels to training locations with a state-of-the-art grain entrapment simulator and rescue tube. The comprehensive training sessions include classroom education and a rescue simulation with the entrapment tool, which is loaded onto a 20-foot trailer and able to hold about 100 bushels of grain.
“Nationwide’s mission of protecting people, businesses and futures with extraordinary care directly aligns with our Grain Bin Safety Advocacy Program,” said Brad Liggett, president of Nationwide Agribusiness, the No. 1 farm insurer.
“Now more than ever, farmers are being recognized for the important part they play in food security. We are proud of our ability to provide grain bin rescue tubes and proper training to help protect the men and women who feed the world.”
2021 Grain Bin Safety Week
Grain Bin Safety Week runs this year from Feb. 21-27, and nominations for the Nominate Your Fire Department Contest are open from Jan. 1 until April 30.
“Grain Bin Safety Week would not happen without the generous support of our sponsors,” Liggett added. “We would like to thank every sponsor for making this week and contest a reality.”