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Kewanee firefighters take hands-on training course for grain bin rescue calls

The training includes hands-on and in-classroom sessions to learn how to use tools and execute response techniques in entrapment scenarios.

Firefighters from Kewanee are taking part in some potentially life-saving training, learning how to best respond to grain bin accidents.

The training includes hands-on and in-classroom sessions to learn how to use tools and execute response techniques in entrapment scenarios.

Rural departments nationwide have had the opportunity to attend the training, which was hosted by agriculture company Gold Star FS, Inc and Nationwide Insurance, funded through a training grant. 

A spokesperson from Gold Star FS, Inc., which helped host the training, said every year thousands of farmers and grain handlers put their lives at risk working with grain bins.  Accidents can happen when they enter to remove clumped or rotten grain.  

In 2020, Illinois reported the most cases of grain-entrapment nationwide, according to a report by Purdue University.  The report also indicated the most grain entrapment cases across the country have come from Indiana, Iowa, Minnesota and Illinois.    

"Rural firefighters are often the first and only line of defense when a farmer or other worker becomes helplessly trapped in grain," said a statement from the company. "Because the grain’s weight and frictional characteristics make it impossible for first responders to simply pull a victim out, special equipment and training are required for a successful rescue."

At their training, on Tuesday, July 13, firefighters got experience with new tools they could use in these scenarios. The sessions also include classroom education and a rescue simulation with the entrapment tool, which holds around 100 bushels of grain. 

A grain bin rescue tube and a special drill were also donated to the Kewanee Fire Department to help them on future calls. 

Here's how a grain rescue tube works

Rural departments nationwide have had the opportunity to attend the training. In addition to Gold Star FS, Inc, the training was made possible by a partnership between the National Education Center for Agricultural Safety and Nationwide Insurance, funded through a training grant.