Kansasville, Wisconsin, March 10, 2021 – On Saturday, March 13th, Kansasville Fire & Rescue Department (KFRD) along with several community stakeholders are providing Grain Bin Rescue training designed to heighten awareness to the dangers of grain bins. As farming is ramping up and will soon be full speed ahead as Southeast Wisconsin is firmly coming into springtime, many area farmers are cleaning out grain bins or sending stored grain to market. Along with that, it is a great time to highlight the importance of safety measures to prevent grain bin accidents and prepare emergency responders for rescue operations in life-threatening situations.
“Approximately 50 emergency responders from multiple area Fire Departments and Special Rescue Teams (SRT) from Racine and Kenosha Counties along with area farmers and other personnel will be participating in this exciting event to help save lives through the application of safety and rescue techniques learned, while minimizing risk to emergency responders”, said Matthew Callies, KFRD Assistant Chief.
According to KFRD Firefighter Justin Ehrhart, “We’re working to increase awareness of the dangers of flowing grain and become more proficient in the use of our equipment and the tactics necessary to safely rescue a trapped person”.
Saturday’s training will include classroom lecture, demonstration, and hands-on application of skills to practice life-saving tactics and techniques that will be relied upon in emergency rescue operations.
According to researchers at Purdue University, over the past 50 years, more than 900 cases of grain engulfment have been reported in the U.S., with a fatality rate of 62%. In 2019, there were 38 documented grain entrapment cases, representing a 26.7% increase over 2018.
Grain Bin Dangers
According to KFRD Lieutenant Adam Bower, there are various inherent dangers to consider in a Grain Bin emergency:
One foot of grain over an individual provides about 300 pounds of pressure. With two feet or more of grain around the body, it is extremely difficult to pull yourself out without assistance.
Grain bins are confined spaces and there is often organic material stored inside that can produce dangerous gases including carbon dioxide, nitric oxide in high concentrations and other toxic gases caused by rotting or infected grains. Also, fumigants used to treat grain bin pests can be the source of dangerous toxins in a bin.
Another cause of injury can be the mechanical equipment within grain storage structures, such as augers and conveyors that present serious entanglement and amputation hazards. Workers can easily get their limbs caught in improperly guarded moving parts that can result in mangling, accidental amputation and in some cases death.
Lieutenant Bower also offers these tips on what those working around Grain Bins can do to help avoid a life-threatening situation:
- Never enter a bin while unloading grain because flowing grain can pull you in and bury you within seconds.
- Grain kernels may stick together, forming a crust or bridge that isn’t strong enough to support a person’s weight after the grain below it is removed. Don’t try to break a grain bridge or blockage loose from inside the bin.
- Try to break up a vertical wall of grain from the top of the bin, not the bottom, because the grain can collapse and bury you.
This training initiative was made possible by the sponsorships from: Racine County Farm Bureau, Kenosha County Farm Bureau, Rural Mutual Insurance Company., The DeLong Company, Inc., Compeer Financial; Pioneer Hi-Bred International, Inc.; Performance Planting and Community State Bank. “Without the unwavering support of these generous community partners, this training would not have been provided. We’re grateful for their commitment to improving safety for those in the ag community. We’d also like to thank Ehrhart Farms for hosting this outstanding event”, said Chief Ronald Molnar, KFRD.