Midwest Energy Arranges $20,000 in Donations for Grain Bin Rescue Equipment | News

Midwest Energy Arranges $20,000 in Donations for Grain Bin Rescue Equipment

January 21, 2022

Midwest Energy is arranging a total of $20,000 in donations to enable 13 regional emergency management services and fire departments to purchase grain entrapment rescue tubes and related accessories. The $20,000 total is made up of $10,000 from Midwest Energy’s Community Fund and $10,000 from Denver-based CoBank, one of Midwest’s lenders.

Three men stand in a grain bin. One is submerged in grain up to his waist. Two Larned firemen assemble a metal interlocking panels (a rescue grain tube) around him.
Larned firefighters start assembling panels around the “victim” during grain tube rescue training. This training was offered by the National Education Center for Agricultural Safety. Photo Credit: Mike Gilmore, Great Bend Tribune.

Those receiving grants include: Claflin Fire Department, Phillipsburg Fire Department, Hamilton County Emergency Management, Burdett Fire Department, Garden City Fire Department, Sheridan County Fire Department, Wilson Fire Department, Rawlins County Fire District #1, Reno County Fire District #7, Plainville Rural Fire Department, Gove Fire Department, Lane County Fire Department and St. Francis Volunteer Fire Department. Each organization will receive $1,538 towards equipment purchase, which will cost roughly $3,000.

Grain entrapment rescue tubes have multiple inter-locking sections that can be slid around a person, shielding them from the grain pressing against the victim.The grain level inside the tube is then reduced with a brushless battery-powered drill and auger, and the victim is removed. These devices make timely grain bin rescues a possibility.

A Larned fireman uses a brushless, cordless drill to lower the grain level inside of the rescue tube. Grain spills out from a red chute.
Once tube panels are assembled around the victim, the grain level inside the tube is reduced using a brushless, cordless drill and auger. Photo credit: Mike Gilmore, Great Bend Tribune.

When a man in Cheyenne County was trapped in a grain bin in July 2021, a rescue tube in neighboring Sherman County was brought in to free him in a matter of minutes.

Steve Hirsch, an Oberlin-based attorney who also serves as Training Officer for Sheridan County Fire Department and Chairman of the National Volunteer Fire Council, feels there is a real need for rural fire departments to have these tubes on hand.

“More and more farms are adding on-site bins, and as a result, grain entrapments are increasingly common,” Hirsch said. “When people become entrapped in grain, every minute counts. These grants allow 13 more counties access to this vital equipment.”

Eight men stand in front of a fire truck and a Midwest Energy vehicle. One Midwest Energy employee in the center hands a check to a member of the Phillipsburg Fire Department.
Midwest Energy presents the Phillipsburg Fire Department with a check for grain entrapment rescue tubes and accessories. Twelve other rural emergency management services and fire departments received funding.

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