By ROB HAMILTON
Thanks to a large donation from local farmers, the Mount Gilead Fire Department now has the equipment to perform grain rescues.
According to Captain Mark Carey, Anthony Bush had approached the department to see what they could do in the event a person would get stuck in a grain silo.
“He came to us to see what our procedures are and we basically explained to him that we didn’t have the equipment needed to perform grain rescues,” said Carey. “He took it on himself to speak with farmers and raised funds in the ball park of $15,000.”
The primary piece of equipment purchased was a device known as a grain sleeve.
“With the money donated, we were able to purchase a grain sleeve designed to encapsulate the victim trapped in the gain to extricate them,” said Carey, noting the sleeve works to isolate the trapped person from the rest of the grain in order to help get them out. “The big issue with grain incidents is that when they get waist deep, people can’t free themselves. It acts like quicksand, so once it gets chest level, they’ll have breathing and circulation issues.”
Also purchased were the necessary ropes and accessories, as many silos are very tall, making rescues even more tricky. Also, a trailer was purchased in order to store all the new equipment.
“We’re now in the process of training people on how to use it,” said Carey. “One of the issues we ran into is that there’s a lot of info on how to use the sleeve, but virtually no training on how to use the ropes, so we’re implementing our own curriculum and once we have that, we’ll bring in people from other fire stations for a class, so if an incident happens anywhere in the county, we can bring in people from other fire stations.”
Plans currently are to hold the class around April.
Carey noted that the Farm Bureau has helped with training and that, on one Sunday, they were able to spend the day at a local farm, using their grain bins.
“I wanted to thank everyone who made this happen,” said Carey. “Because of what they donated, we’ll have a team that’s better equipped and trained than anyone in the area. With all this in mind, our intentions are to keep building. This is one piece of the puzzle, but we plan to add equipment and training.”
Rob Hamilton can be reached at 419-946-3010, ext. 1807. Connect with him on Twitter at @SportsMCS