DAVIDSONVILLE, MD – In a concerted effort to enhance grain bin safety and rescue capabilities, ten Maryland Fire Departments have been awarded critical grain bin rescue equipment through Nationwide’s Grain Bin Safety advocacy campaign. Two additional fire departments in the state will receive specialized retraining on grain bin rescues. The initiative, made possible by the Maryland Farm Bureau’s (MDFB) collaboration with Nationwide, aims to mitigate the risks associated with grain bin-related incidents, including entrapment and suffocation.

The ten fire departments receiving state-of-the-art Rescue Tubes are Anne Arundel County Fire & EMS Department, Cobb Island Volunteer Fire & EMS Department, Easton Volunteer Fire Department, Hereford Volunteer Fire Company, Laytonsville District Volunteer Fire Department, Linkwood-Salem Volunteer Fire Company, Marion Fire Department, Oakland Volunteer Fire Department, Reisterstown Fire Department, and Singerly Fire Company.

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Simultaneously, the Funkstown Volunteer Fire Company and Goodwill Fire Company will undergo specialized retraining to enhance their grain bin rescue skills. The training program is spearheaded by Dan Neenan, the Director of the National Education Center for Agricultural Safety (NECAS).

The training involves a hands-on component featuring a cutting-edge grain entrapment simulator mounted on a 20-foot trailer, capable of holding 100 bushels of grain. Emergency Medical Services (EMS) and fire department personnel will practice lockout/tagout and extrication procedures for both fully and partially engulfed victims.

Parker Welch, Executive Director of MDFB, emphasized the commitment to the safety of the state’s food producers. “We are thrilled to team up with our partners at Nationwide to equip our courageous first responders with the training and resources necessary to prevent these tragedies,” said Welch.

The collaboration between MDFB and Nationwide is part of a broader initiative to address the dangers associated with grain bins. According to the 2022 Summary of U.S. Agricultural Confined Space-Related Injuries and Fatalities, over the past decade, more than 300 grain entrapments have been recorded. In 2021 alone, 29 grain entrapments were reported, resulting in 11 fatalities.

Maryland Farm Bureau takes proactive measures to raise awareness about the potential dangers of grain bins. Every February, the bureau celebrates National Grain Bin Safety Week, highlighting the importance of enforcing safety measures to prevent accidents and fatalities in the agricultural sector.

This collaborative effort between Maryland Fire Departments, Nationwide, and MDFB exemplifies a proactive approach to ensuring the safety of those working in the agricultural industry, underscoring the importance of continuous training and equipping first responders with the necessary tools to handle emergencies effectively.

David M. Higgins II is an award-winning journalist passionate about uncovering the truth and telling compelling stories. Born in Baltimore and raised in Southern Maryland, he has lived in several East...

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