Fire departments train to rescue farmers from quicksand-like grain

Fire departments train for grain bin rescues

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Firefighters on Thursday participated in a rescue training operation focused on saving people who become trapped inside grain bins.

News 8 got a closer look at the training and how firefighters adapt to saving lives in what’s essentially quicksand.

“The amount of strength that it takes to lift someone stuck in corn would literally rip a person in half,” said Wayne Township Fire Department Captain Michael Pruitt. “So that just tells you, when that grain closes in around you, that’s just how much pressure you would have against your body and your chest that would not allow you to breathe.”

If someone falls into a grain bin when the equipment is still on, the grain acts like quicksand, moving fast and pulling the person under.

“Every scoop of corn you pull away, more corn will run in,” Pruitt said. “So we have tools to evacuate that corn from inside the rescue tube we had in place that we build in there, and we just keep doing that until we have them freed up enough to get them out.”

Brand new equipment was recently donated to the Wayne Township Fire Department. Firefighters used the equipment during the training session on Thursday to rescue a dummy that was sinking in one grain bin.

“He was basically at his thighs down stuck in the corn,” Pruitt said. “Two or three of our biggest, strongest firefighters could not pull him out yet. So we had to clear that corn out to completely get him free so that we could lift him out and then lower him from the grain bin.”

Each attempt helps firefighters become more confident in their rescues, but it also helps farmers have confidence in the people coming to save them.

“Well, it might be me in the bin one of these days,” said grain farmer Dale Gladden. “Me or some of the people around here that help us, or my neighbors, so just one of those things we felt like needs to be done.”

If you are working around a grain bin, be sure to let someone know where you are just in case and if possible, make sure the equipment is off.