Farmway Co-op, Inc. hosted Kansas Fire and Rescue Training Institute’s mobile Grain Engulfment Rescue Training January 7 at the cooperative’s Courtland location. Local volunteer firefighters along with Farmway personnel attended the training.

The goal of this day-long training is to prepare grain facility management, elevator personnel and rescue units for their roles in the event of a grain bin engulfment.

Entrapment generally occurs when a worker enters a bin to dislodge large portions of grain that have stuck together, preventing the kernels from being extracted by bin machinery. Whether entrapment occurs from the collapse of vertical grain walls or bridged grain, or entrapment in flowing grain, these are critical situations where time is limited, locating victims is often difficult, and rescue is treacherous.

For employees’ safety, Farmway doesn’t allow bin entry from the top of grain bins. And before an employee enters any grain storage, he or she observes the entry structure with the Bin Entry Team and signs the Bin Entry permit. “Farmway employees are trained on proper Bin Entry procedures to ensure that no one enters a grain structure without following our ‘lock-out, tag-out’ grain entry procedure that goes through a series of safety pre-checks, ensures that an observer is present, and the proper personal protective equipment is used,” said David Edwards, Farmway Safety Director.

The hands-on learning began in the morning with a PowerPoint highlighting grain engulfment entrapment statistics, an overall summary of how entrapment may occur and other issues that could affect a rescue effort. Participants also reviewed several case studies and discussed various safety factors involved with each incident.

In the afternoon, attendees utilized the mobile grain engulfment simulation trailer which was designed to simulate grain entrapment and train first responders how to rescue victims. The mobile classroom, a 35’ trailer, includes a grain bin, a grain hopper (or open cart) and a metal cutting station.

“The situation is very realistic, and presents real challenges of a true grain emergency on the farm or at an elevator. They learn about the challenges of confined space and getting through a small area,” said Edwards.