Rural communities continue to face hazards associated with working in and around grain structures. In 2022 alone, there were at least 42 grain entrapments – the highest number in over a decade – resulting in 15 fatalities. To help prevent tragic accidents and deaths, Nationwide and its partners are providing life-saving grain rescue tubes and training to 60 fire departments across rural America through its 2023 Grain Bin Safety campaign.
In partnership with the National Education Center for Agricultural Safety (NECAS), Nationwide and its partners have now supplied grain rescue equipment and training to 332 first responders across 32 states to help prepare them when local grain entrapments occur.
After receiving thousands of nominations in the 2023 Nominate Your Fire Department Contest, an annual component of Nationwide’s Grain Bin Safety advocacy campaign, the insurer and its partners are proud to have awarded grain rescue tubes and training to 60 fire departments.
The Lakeville Fire Department and LaPaz-North Township Volunteer Fire Department are among this year’s list of winners who were awarded a grain rescue tube and training. These resources are being brought to the community thanks to donations from Sandy Oakley & Family and IN Corn Marketing.
“Grain bin accidents continue to be a critical issue facing the agriculture industry,” said Brad Liggett, president of Agribusiness at Nationwide. “We are proud to have supplied these important resources to 60 more rural fire departments in partnership with the many sponsors involved in our grain bin safety efforts. However, the work will not be complete until we can put a stop to these needless accidents altogether. Thank you to the first responders who play such an important role in supporting the agriculture community.”
NECAS, based out of Peosta, IA, delivered the rescue tubes and training to 60 fire departments and conducted re-training for six additional fire departments throughout 2023, traveling to each location with state-of-the-art grain entrapment simulators. The comprehensive training sessions included classroom education and rescue simulations using the entrapment tools, which are loaded onto 20-foot trailers and able to hold about 100 bushels of grain each.
Since beginning the Grain Bin Safety campaign in 2014, at least seven fire departments have utilized their rescue tubes and training to successfully rescue entrapped individuals, including a recent Ohio rescue of a worker trapped up to his armpits in March 2023.