Volunteer firefighters receive grain bin rescue training

Farm Forum

The Claremont Fire Department and Faulkton Fire Department received life-saving grain bin rescue equipment in April through a donation from Farm Credit Services of America (FCSAmerica). A grain bin rescue exercise followed the donation to train firefighters in the use of the specialized equipment.

The fire departments each received a 10-panel system, a slide hammer and other accessories manufactured by Outstate Data in Elbow, Minn. The equipment is designed by rescuers specifically for grain bin entrapments.

Even as the overall rate of serious injuries and fatalities on farms has fallen, the number of grain bin entrapments remains stubbornly steady, in part because the country’s high grain production has led to more bins that require more grain workers.

Grain can engulf and bury a worker in less than 30 seconds. The Claremont and Faulkton fire departments recognize that grain bin rescue equipment significantly increases the chance of saving a life. Faulkton and Claremont are among the 84 rural and mostly volunteer departments receiving grain bin rescue equipment and training through FCSAmerica in 2015. Most of the recipient departments are part of mutual aid agreements that allow multiple communities to use and benefit from the equipment.

“FCSAmerica is proud to make grain bin rescue equipment a community service priority, said Terry Fjeldheim, Retail Vice President at FCSAmerica’s Aberdeen’s office. “As a cooperative for farmers and ranchers, we understand the importance of farm safety. We see grain bin rescue equipment as one of the most worthwhile investments we can make in the rural communities we serve.”

Farm safety experts caution that bins in many areas of the country are filled with high-moisture corn and beans because of a wet harvest. Crusting can develop inside these bins, increasing the risk of entrapment. Safety experts advise against entering bins without at least two others present; everyone involved should know the steps to take in the event of an entrapment; and nobody should attempt a rescue alone.