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Volunteer firefighter Makayla Parson helps demonstrate how the grain bin rescue tube works Photo courtesy of Delaware Farm Bureau
TESTING IT OUT: Volunteer firefighter Makayla Parson helped demonstrate how the grain bin rescue tube works last year at the Harrington Fire Department after they received the award from Nationwide.

Fire companies win contest for grain bin rescue tubes

Six Northeast fire companies won grain bin rescue tubes from the Nominate Your Fire Department Contest.

First responders in Delaware will have more access to grain bin rescue tubes and training this year thanks to Nationwide Insurance and the Delaware Farm Bureau.

Nationwide’s seventh annual Nominate Your Fire Department Contest saw 41 winners this year, some of which included awardees whose training and equipment was paid for by local Farm Bureaus. Of the awardees, two are from Delaware: Carlisle Fire Co. in Milford and Odessa Fire Co.

Other regional winners are:

  • Avoca Fire Department, Avoca, Pa.
  • DeRuyter Fire, DeRuyter, N.Y.
  • New Haven Volunteer Fire Department, New Haven, Vt.
  • Womelsdorf Volunteer Fire Co., Womelsdorf, Pa.

June Unruh, Delaware Farm Bureau member and New Castle County Women’s Committee chairwoman, nominated the Odessa Fire Co. for the award this year after hearing about the contest at a state Farm Bureau meeting.

“My husband and I are farmers and we have grain bins, and a lot of the farmers, I think probably eight to 10 people in this immediate area, have grain bins. I just think it’s a real need to have something in place in case something happens,” she says. “It makes me feel good as a farmer’s wife to know that we will have that available to us. And it’s just five miles up the road from where we live.”

Unruh noted in her nomination that the closest grain bin rescue tube was in Harrington, about 45 miles south of the family farm.

“That’s just too much time. These accidents happen quickly,” she says.

“If the grain shifts and you’re working in there, it only takes a few seconds before grain builds up around you,” says Connie Fox, chairwoman of the Delaware Farm Bureau’s Sussex County Women’s Committee. She nominated Carlisle Fire Co. in Milford for the award.

“If you’ve ever been to the beach and put your foot in the sand, you know your feet are heavy. When kids lay down and put sand all over your body, you can’t breathe. Grain does the same thing as sand. It puts pressure on you. You can’t breathe if you’re stuck. It takes less than 15 minutes,” she says.

According to Purdue University, 70% of all grain bin entrapments occur on farms, and 62% of all reported grain bin entrapments result in death.

Reports from United Press International found that “grain bin deaths spiked last year and in early 2020 due to last season’s wet harvest,” according to Nationwide.

“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,” says 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.”

Each of the 41 awardees will 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,” according to Nationwide.

The National Education Center for Agricultural Safety will deliver the grain bin rescue tubes and training. Local training is expected to be scheduled this fall.

Source: Delaware Farm Bureau, which is solely responsible for the information provided and is wholly owned by the source. Informa Business Media and all its subsidiaries are not responsible for any of the content contained in this information asset.
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