2018-11-08 / Front Page

Firefighters Get Grain-Bin Rescue Training

Three county companies participate
By Cassidy Pittman
STAFF WRITER


Volunteer firefighters and EMS responders from Hustontown Area Volunteer Fire Co., Mc- Connellsburg Volunteer Fire Co. and Needmore Volunteer Fire Co. participate in a grain-bin rescue training course on Saturday, October 27. The training was led by Penn State Extension. Photo provided by NVFC. Volunteer firefighters and EMS responders from Hustontown Area Volunteer Fire Co., Mc- Connellsburg Volunteer Fire Co. and Needmore Volunteer Fire Co. participate in a grain-bin rescue training course on Saturday, October 27. The training was led by Penn State Extension. Photo provided by NVFC. McConnellsburg Volunteer Fire Co. (MVFC), Needmore Volunteer Fire Co. (NVFC), and Hustontown Volunteer Fire Co. (HAVFCO) participated in a grain-bin rescue awareness training provided by Penn State Ag Rescue Training Program on Saturday, Oct. 27.

The training program was designed to teach emergency responders about the hazards of grain bins and what they would encounter when attempting a rescue from a grain entrapment and/or engulfment. The training typically lasts six hours, which consists of two hours of classroom lecture and discussion and four hours of individual and group hands-on activities. Active participation was required.

In order to participate, the volunteer fire companies had to find a farm or grain facility with at least one grain bin that could be climbed; a gravity flow wagon (an angled wagon that uses gravity to make the unloading process easier); two to three bin panels that trainees could cut to gain familiarity with the tools they would be required to use for the rescue; access to 300 bushels of corn grain for the entrapment simulator; and access to 220V of electricity.

According to Eric Cromer, Fulton County Conservation District’s ag specialist, the training was conducted in two parts. The instructional part was held at the Hustontown Firehall. After that, the firemen traveled to two different farms. One was the Cromer farm, owned by Robbie Cromer and located on Forbes Trail Road, where the firemen got to walk around and in an actual grain bin that stores corn. The other was the McLucas farm, owned by Russel McLucas and located on Narrows Road. This was where the actual grain-bin rescue simulation and panel-cutting station took place.

Stephen Brown, Extension associate program director for Penn State, was the head instructor for the day and the training lasted 8 to 9 hours. Twenty-three county fire personnel participated in the training. In attendance also were Cromer and Greg Strait, Penn State Extension.

The three fire companies told the “News” that the training was informative and good preparation for a real emergency. They also felt that training together was a positive experience.

“It was a wonderful training. It’s not for your typical call but being knowledgeable about dangerous possibilities that could happen is always a good thing. As a paramedic, it’s always great to be prepared,” said Kristen Zambrano, MVFC paramedic. “It was a great experience to have all three volunteer fire companies there training together too. We cover different parts of the county, but we are all working towards a similar goal, and this is keeping the community safe.”

“The grain bin rescue class was very informative to myself and my department. The class was very hands on and prepared responders for the potential dangers and how to handle a real emergency situation …. The instructors were very knowledgeable and eager to share their knowledge with our local responders. The training improves our department’s confidence and certification level to handle potential grain-bin rescues in the rural agricultural area we serve,” said Hunter Willey, NVFC lieutenant

Jeff Black, HAVFCO fire chief, said, “All the participants were very pleased with the technical knowledge that was shared and the lifesaving techniques and equipment that were presented. This training was a testimony of the ongoing commitment and effort within Fulton County to bring all our government and volunteer agencies together to serve the county in the most efficient manner as a unified force. Special thanks to Robert Cromer and Russell McLucas for allowing us to use their farms and equipment as part of our training exercise. United we stand, divided we fall.”

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