Bins loaded with grain can swallow and suffocate a person in a matter of seconds but now 16 rural Iowa fire departments will be better able to respond to such accidents. Amanda Rinehart, spokeswoman for Dupont Pioneer, says the Johnston-based seed giant is doling out $70,000 in grants for the purchase of grain bin rescue gear.
Rinehart says, “Dupont Pioneer has awarded grants to these 16 fire departments across Iowa for them to purchase a grain engulfment rescue tube and all of the harnesses and equipment that they would need to utilize that.” At least two Iowans have gotten trapped in grain bins in recent weeks and one of the incidents — in the Webster County town of Dayton — resulted in death.
Rinehart says the life-saving rescue tubes can be quickly deployed. “It’s a big steel tube that comes in sections that you insert around the person that is trapped in the grain,” Rinehart says.
“It helps take some of the weight and pressure off of them and move some of the grain away so that the fire department and EMTs can do the work they need to do to get that person released.” There have been at least 26 grain bin deaths in Iowa between 2000 and 2010. One report says it only takes five seconds to sink waist-deep in grain, 11 seconds to be buried.
The Iowa fire departments getting the grants are in: Alburnett, Algona, Bennett, Dallas Center, Harlan, Humeston, Lewis, Malvern, Mount Pleasant, Orange City, Riceville, Richland, Salem, Toledo, West Liberty and Williamsburg.