Indiana is one of the top states in the country for grain bin entrapments and fatalities.
And while those numbers are usually in the single digits for a calendar year, one is still too many.
To that end, Henry County REMC focused a portion of a farm safety training session held in conjunction with Co-Alliance Cooperative late last fall on grain bin rescues.
“We’ve really tried the past two years to focus on member engagement, and this is part of the initiative we came up with,” said Heather Flynn, Henry County REMC Marketing Communications Coordinator. “Co-Alliance has a grain bin simulator and travels around to bring it wherever.”
Following a safety presentation on electrical safety and digging, more than 40 attendees went out to the warehouse where the grain bin simulator was set up. Many of those in attendance were members of local fire departments, first responders and farmers recruited partly by Henry County REMC Planning and Construction Coordinator Heath Hudnut, who also doubles as a volunteer firefighter.
With the help of Co-Alliance’s Julie Lamberson, they ran through a grain bin rescue as many times as everyone wanted in order to get hands on experience. Volunteers to be rescued had to sign a waiver to get in the grain bin. One volunteer was 6-foot-3 and still fit in down to his stomach before rescuers used things like an auger and an entrapment tool to dig him out.
“They got that first-hand feel with tools in the rescue process,” Flynn said. “It was a really good turnout, and we had people calling wanting to do it at a different time for some of the busy farmers. Many have already been asking when we’re going to bring it back, including one of the fire chiefs, so we want to make it an annual thing.”
Henry County REMC is already making plans for another session this summer.