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Ohio team gains rescue training

CHERYL TEVIS 07/28/2011 @ 10:34am Cheryl has been an editor at Successful Farming since 1979.

Ask Albert Johnston and he'll tell you that it pays to read Successful Farming magazine. He opened his October 2010 issue and read about an opportunity for a free grain bin extrication training and rescue tube.

Johnston and his son, Matt, are dairy farmers who serve on the Homeworth (Ohio) Volunteer Fire Company. He talked to Gregg Carver, a 28-year veteran of the company and a township trustee, who agreed to enter a nomination.

Two months later, Carver was notified that Homeworth was the lucky recipient. Located in Knox Township, Columbiana County, the 23-member team is based in a farming area. “We know there are over 300 grain bin storage units in our area,” Carver says. “Receiving this new equipment and training means we'll be better fitted to handle a potential incident.”

Dan Neenan and Denny Green from the National Education Center for Agricultural Safety (NECAS), Peosta, Iowa, traveled to Homeworth in April to conduct the training, using a portable simulation training bin donated by Grain Systems, Inc. (GSI), Growmark, and Nationwide Agribusiness. Homeworth's new $2,700 grain rescue tube was donated by GSI; the NECAS training was sponsored by FS Grain Systems.

The Homeworth Volunteer Fire Company invited 17 firefighters from Stark, Mahoning, and Columbiana counties, Beloit, North Georgetown, Hanover Township, and Damascus to participate in the training and to become certified.

A grain extrication training drill with the Ohio Fire Chiefs Association is set for November.

“We plan to reach out to help train as many other Ohio fire departments as possible and even go to West Virginia and Pennsylvania,” Carver says.

Villard, Minnesota, farmer Paul Fiedler, read in Successful Farming last winter about the offer of free grain bin rescue training and equipment. He contacted Dan Neenan at the National Center for Agricultural Safety in Peosta, Iowa.

Being better prepared

Fiedler and his wife, Stephanie, have a hog operation and farm 3,200 acres. They have the facilities to store 350,000 bushels of grain on their operation.

The Fiedlers decided to purchase the rescue training and a grain rescue tube for the Villard, Sauk Centre and Forada fire departments.

“The fire department always has to do its own fundraising to buy equipment and take training so they can protect us,” Fiedler says. “As farms get larger, it’s time for us to step up to the plate, and help them be better prepared to protect us and our families.”

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