Rural fire departments take advantage of any opportunity to train in grain bin rescues

Published: Apr. 7, 2022 at 10:13 PM CDT
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TRAER, Iowa (KCRG) - Grain bin accidents don’t happen often, but when they do, every second matters for emergency responders attempting to rescue the trapped person.

Thursday, eight rural fire departments took the opportunity to train in grain bin rescues; something they don’t often get a chance to do.

“It has been three years since we trained in this,” said Traer Fire Chief Tyler Sell. “We have a lot of new people in the department who have never trained in this.”

Chief Sell said farmers often get inside grain bins to check on their corn, but some make the mistake of not wearing a harness or entering the bin unattended.

“This year we’ve had three people trapped in a grain bin in the area, and one of them was fatal,” said Carmen Erhardt, an insurance agent of Pillar Insurance in Traer.

Her company partnered with Nationwide to host the event; practicing rescues was crucial.

“It’s a bit like quicksand to move around in there, burying you deeper and deeper,” she said.

Chief Sell said people should never enter a grain bin unsupervised, wear a harness, and for the first responder getting called out, take advantage of any opportunity to train.

“Just wanting to learn new tricks of the trade that have evolved over the years,” said Chief Sell.

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