KCFD introduces new grain rescue tools


Paul Stevenson is hoping the Kewanee Community Fire Department puts their newest equipment in a corner and allows them to pick up the dust.

Stevenson coordinates Nationwide Insurance’s Grain Elevator Safety Week, which was held this year Feb. 21-27, though grain elevator safety occupies well over a week per year.

On Tuesday, July 13, he was at Germans Corner Elevator, a Gold Star FS facility in rural Kewanee, to present a grain hopper rescue tube, auger and hose to the Kewanee Community Fire Department.

The KCFD invited neighboring fire departments to attend training given by Jeff Sanderfield, a 24-year veteran of the Dubuque Fire Department who runs sessions with support from Northeast Iowa Community College and the National Education Center for Agricultural Safety.

The departments invited were Kewanee City, Bishop Hill, Galva, Oxford, Clover, Atkinson, Cambridge and Annawan.

The tube actually consists of six aluminum panels that can be put together to form a circle around a farmer or co-op worker stuck in the middle of the bin, or a semicircle if the farmer is against it. one side, or a wall.

Two steps on the outside of each panel allow rescuers to use their weight to push the panels into the grain.

Once rescuers have placed the panels around the trapped person, they can lower an auger into the tube and use it to remove grain. A drill feeds the auger. Ideally, rescuers use a brushless drill that does not spark when the trigger is pulled. Sparks can ignite grain dust.

Two steps inside each panel help the trapped person to exit if they are able.

Rescues last on average over three hours.

Nationwide Insurance accepts applications for rescue tubes from January 1 to April 30 and selects 35 fire departments to receive them. The insurance company is working with corporate sponsors such as GROWMARK to provide even more rescue tubes to fire departments such as Kewanee Community.

Fifty-two or 53 bean tubes will be donated this year, Stevenson said. In total, since 2014, Nationwide and its partners have distributed 202 bean tubes in 30 states.

KC Supply in Shannon, Ill. Manufactures hundreds of panels each year.

The best way to avoid dying in grain elevators is to never enter them, Stevenson said. But the reality is that farmers can get in there, and they can get stuck in less than 500 bushels of grain. They can be buried up to the waist in 15 seconds and completely engulfed in 30 seconds.

Sanderfield explained many aspects of rescuing a grain silo, such as cutting Vs on the sides of a silo to let the grain flow, where to anchor the ropes for the trapped person and rescuers, and how to bring the person. rescued from the ground.

Using the rescue tubes, firefighters saved four lives.

“Four people were able to return home to their families,” Stevenson said.

If anyone gets stuck, the community of Kewanee and other fire departments will be ready to organize a rescue. Following Stevenson’s comment that he was hoping the new equipment would pick up dust in a corner, Sanderfield recommended that the tube and auger be stored on one of the trucks to avoid delays if they are needed.

For more information on the signs, visit https://www.greatwallofrescue.com/. For the National Agricultural Center Education Center, go to www.necasag.org or check out the Facebook page.

Also, Nationwide has a grainbinsafetyweek.com site.

Here’s how to name a fire department for a rescue tube.

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