JEFFERSON CO. (KSNT) — Its harvest time in the sunflower state and that means more people working in or around grain bins.
And nearly every year, someone is seriously hurt, or even killed in grain bin accidents.
According to the latest industry estimates, in 2010 alone 26 U.S. workers were killed in grain bin accident, while 62 percent of all these accidents are fatal.
Williamstown Fire Department spent the afternoon training in a grain bin rescue.
“In harvest of course, people are always in a hurry. And so you typically don’t want to get in such a hurry that safety is a problem,” says farmer Mike Anerine.
Thursday evening, a specialized rescue team made up of firefighters from Jefferson, Douglas and Shawnee counties practiced helping people trapped in grain bins.
“Local farmers started harvesting Monday so we are gearing up,” said Jeremy Rodecap, Jefferson County Fire Chief.
This simulator is about as real as it gets.
As soon as you enter into this bin, the grain engulfs you like quicksand, and in seconds you are covered.
Firefighters use rescue techniques using panels to build a wall around their victim, then using another tool to suck the grain out.
“It takes about 2 to 3 hours. It depends on how engulfed they are. If they are trapped to their knees, if they are trapped to their waist,” Rodecap says.
The University of Kansas offers this training free for any fire department in the state. Just contact the Kansas Fire and Rescue Training Institute.