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Firefighters learn grain bin rescue procedures

Traves Sutton, Assistant Chief 3 of the North Washington Volunteer Fire Department, stands Saturday, Sept. 17, listing to the instructor after making the first practice rescue of a victim inside a grain silo. Shane Potter/Butler Eagle
‘It’s kind of like an avalanche’

WASHINGTON TWP — Several local fire departments gathered Saturday at North Washington Rodeo Grounds and a local farm to receive hands-on training for grain bin rescues.

The all-day event taught first responders the importance of resources, preparedness and teamwork when encountering difficult agricultural rescue situations.

Training was provided by Emergency Services Rescue Training after the North Washington Fire Department was given a grain tube by the Butler County Farm Bureau. The tube is an aluminum pipe placed around an individual stuck in grain, allowing the person to have oxygen and allowing firefighters to make an efficient rescue.

According to Chad Jespersen, lead instructor of the training, farmers often do quality checks of their grain or corn in the 48-foot grain bins, and if they fall in, they could become submerged.

“Within Pennsylvania, you see about one a year where there is entrapment,” he said. “Out of 10, five are fatal. It’s kind of like an avalanche.”

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