Nerstrand Fire

Pictured is Nerstrand Fire Rescue Assistant Chief Joe Johnson next to Iron Ridge’s grain rescue tube in front of a grain rescue simulator, used for grain rescue training. (Photo courtesy of Nationwide)

On Tuesday, Sept. 22, local first responders with Nerstrand Fire Rescue were awarded a grain rescue tube and specialized training from Nationwide and its partners. The resources will be used to help protect against grain entrapments, which result in dozens of deaths across rural America each year and spiked in 2019 and 2020 due to last season’s wet harvest.

Every year, thousands of farmers and commercial grain handlers risk their lives by entering grain bins to remove clumped or rotted grain. As rural communities have come to know all too well, the risks of entering grain bins continue to be overlooked.

“An accident in a grain bin can quickly turn deadly, as adults can become entrapped in flowing grain up to their waist in just seconds,” said Brad Liggett, Nationwide’s President of Agribusiness. “When these accidents occur, rural first responders are often the only line of defense.”

To help lead the fight against these accidents impacting agricultural communities, the country’s leading insurer of farms and ranches1, Nationwide, began its Grain Bin Safety campaign in 2014 to bring awareness to the hazards of entering grain structures and to equip fire departments with the resources needed to respond effectively.

Nerstrand Fire Rescue is one of 41 fire departments to receive these resources through the 2020 campaign, and one of 152 fire departments to benefit from the program since its inception.

The grain rescue tube delivery and training, held at Nerstrand Fire Rescue, was conducted by the National Education Center for Agricultural Safety (NECAS), and included simulations of entrapments and rescues using a state-of-the-art grain entrapment simulator, which is loaded on a trailer and able to hold about 100 bushels of grain.

Since 2014, at least four fire departments have put the tubes and training to use to save the lives of farmers trapped in grain bins.

“We’re passionate about protecting America’s farmers through education and awareness, and we’re incredibly proud to make these resources available to fire departments,” added Liggett.

To learn more or view grain bin safety resources, visit thinkgrainbinsafety.com.

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