Training part of grain bin rescue equipment donation

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

The Woolstock Fire Department received a 10-panel system, 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 Woolstock Fire Department recognizes that grain bin rescue equipment significantly increases the chance of saving a life. The Woolstock Fire Department is among the 96 rural and mostly volunteer departments receiving grain bin rescue equipment and training through FCSAmerica in 2016. 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 Cheryl Mannetter, Vice President of retail operations at FCSAmerica’s Webster City 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 impacts 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.