By Forrest Hershberger
Sidney Sun-Telegraph 

Dalton VFD Awarded Rescue Gear

 

Forrest Hershberger

Dan Neenan, right, explains how the rescue chute is assembled to Dalton volunteer firefighters John Jensen (left) and Ted Watchorn hold panels. The "Great Wall of Rescue" was presented to Dalton Corteva's outreach program.

They are often the unnoticed tradesmen, building empires from a handful of tools and a vision. Some jokingly say they are the original gamblers, trying to bet against nature.

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention says agriculture is among the most hazardous industries with a high risk of fatal and nonfatal injuries. The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) developed a program in 1990 to address the injuries and illnesses that farm workers and families experience. The organization reports that every day "about 100 agricultural workers suffer a lost-work-time injury."

Those injuries and deaths include falls into grain bins, silos and trucks and resulting suffocation. A misstep along a truck or in a mill above a truck, or in or above a bin can result in serious and quick danger.

"Most people get trapped in grain when just above the knee," said Dan Neenan, director of National Education Center For Agricultural Safety. "Most people can get out when just below the knees."

Neenan was in Dalton Thursday to train firefighters in use of a system designed to rescue a person trapped in grain.

The system, called the "Great Wall of Rescue," is a system of panels that are strategically placed around a victim and assembled before grain is removed. The chute is a series of panels that connect around the victim. The first panel is placed behind the victim close to his or her back and connected in a circle to the front. Grain is removed from the front of the victim and excavated to the grain outside of the constructed chute.


In addition to explaining the equipment, Neenan addressed scene management including identifying how many potential victims are at the site, identifying the incident commander and how to save the victim or victims without responders becoming injured themselves.

Neenan explained the type of equipment to keep on hand, including basic hardware equipment such as cordless drills and saws. The caution is grain dust can be combustible, even explosive. One spark from a saw on steel could change the operation.

The Dalton Volunteer Fire Department was awarded the "Great Wall of Rescue" by Corteva. Kyle and Ted Watchorn have been with the Dalton Volunteer Fire Department for several years. Kyle Watchorn said Corteva Agriscience is related to Dow, Dupont and Pioneer. Corteva promoted a grant program, awarding communities the company has a presence in with a rescue kit and training. His wife wrote a grant application earlier this summer and the community was notified in June.


"This is something you want, but hope you'll never need," Kyle Watchorn said.

Ted Watchorn said some time of grain rescue is inevitable. Agweb.com lists 59 entrapments and 26 deaths in 2010 according to Perdue University research. In 2014, there were 38 entrapments and 17 deaths nationwide.

"It's not if. It's when," Watchorn said.

Volunteer firefighters were in training July 25 to learn how the Great Wall of Rescue works and how they can apply it.

 

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