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Tube Is New Rescue Tool

The Winside (Nebraska) Volunteer Fire & Rescue
Department has a new piece of equipment that its members hope they’ll never
have to use. But if a grain entrapment does occur, they’ll be better prepared.

“It’s comforting to know that the grain rescue tube is at
our disposal if the need ever arises,” says Winside Fire Chief Don Skokan.

He applied for a Liberty Grain Rescue Tube last fall, after
reading an article in Successful Farming magazine about an opportunity to
receive a free tube and training. A grain rescue tube protects a partially
trapped victim while the rescue is under way.

After Skokan was notified that Winside was the lucky
recipient, Purdue University instructor Stephen Wettschurack conducted a
daylong training program for about 50 fire and rescue volunteers from
neighboring communities at nearby Loup City.

Four Winside volunteers, including Skokan, attended
Wettschurack’s demonstration of the proper techniques used to rescue a victim.
Skokan and the other volunteers plan to train their 30-member Winside Volunteer
Fire & Rescue team this spring.

Winside’s Liberty Grain Rescue Tube will be on display at
the annual pancake-omelet feed in Winside on February 10.

Grain safety advocates advise farmers to follow three
hard-and-fast safety rules to avoid entrapments:

1. Don’t enter a bin when unloading equipment is running.

2. Install a lock-out/tag-out system to prevent unsafe

3. Don’t enter alone.

If these protocols aren’t followed and an emergency occurs,
a well-trained and well-equipped fire department is essential to extricate
victims quickly and safely.

Purdue University has conducted 69 trainings. “As I’ve
traveled, I’ve seen the need for communities to obtain the proper equipment for
rescuers,” Wettschurack says.

Out-of-condition grain contributes to entrapment. Last year’s
drought led to more grain than usual harvested in September, when temperatures
were warmer and insects were active. This grain may contain more broken kernels
and fine material.

It may also increase exposure to dust, mold spores, and
endotoxins. Disposable two-strap masks are recommended.

Purdue University’s Agricultural Safety and Health program
has documented grain entrapments in the U.S. since 1978. Entrapments are

“The problem is likely to get worse, because farmers are
building more and larger bins on farms,” says Bill Field, Purdue University,
professor of ag and biological engineering, and Extension safety specialist. 

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