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By Beth Zumwalt
The Pike County EMS, Pittsfield, Griggsville, North Pike, East Pike and Liberty Fire Departments plus approximately 50 individuals representing other fire departments trained last week on grain bin rescue.
“We thought it was a good time to hold the training,” Jason White, Pittsfield Fire Chief, said. “We wanted to do a refresher for our veterans and get any new firefighters up to speed. Plus, being right before harvest is a bonus.”
According to the Occupation Safety and Health Administration, a person in a bin has only two seconds to react once grain starts flowing beneath him.
“Call 911 the minute the incident happens due to the tremendous amount of resources needed to extricate an individual,”White said. “Man power and equipment will be needed in a very short time to be successful. It takes neighbors and properly trained people to be successful at these incidents.”
The training last week centered on basic grain bin extrication topics, securing the victim, opening the bin to extract grain, firefighter safety, communication tactics, and dust mitigation.
“We have a grain tube for rescue as well as a grain extractor to remove the grain once the victim in inside the tube,” White said. “We purchased our grain tube in 2010 with the help of sponsors.”
The United States averaged about 35 reported grain-handling incidents per year from 2005 to 2015, about 60 percent to 70 percent of which were fatal, according to Purdue University.
A 47-year-old Petersburg man lost his life Aug. 21 after becoming entrapped is the most recent accident in this region.
“People should be extremely cautious when working around grain bins,”White said.“Look for common hazards, like crusting or balling, if your working with a plugged bin, work with a partner.