Ohio First Lady promotes grain bin safety

Courtesy of the Associated Press

August 22, 2013

Emergency first responders took part in a specialized training simulation that can reduce the severity of farm accidents.

The Ohio Departments of Agriculture and Commerce recently hosted instructors from the Ohio Fire Academy as they demonstrated grain bin storage rescue operations as part of First Lady’s Day at the Ohio State Fair. The farm rescue training demonstration was brought to this year’s fair at the request of Ohio First Lady Karen Waldbillig Kasich, who was on hand for the event.

“The First Lady, who is very interested in farming and food production, read about the grain bin rescue trainings in an article,” said Ohio Agriculture Director David T. Daniels. “It was her idea to arrange the demonstration at the Ohio State Fair to raise awareness about the work being done to make sure the people who grow our food are safe.”

Agriculture is the largest industry in the state, contributing nearly $105 billion each year to the state’s economy. It is also one of the most dangerous occupations, according to the National Safety Council. While automated equipment makes handling grain easier and faster, grain storage structures and handling equipment can become hazardous work areas. Accidents peak during the harvest season with most grain bin accidents involving someone being trapped in flowing grain.

“It’s a frightening experience to be trapped by flowing grain,” said State Fire Marshal Larry Flowers. “When the fire department responds, training on these unique situations can be the difference between life and death.”

The demonstration took place on the state’s new Comprehensive Agriculture Rescue Trailer, also known as CART. Mounted on a 40-foot flatbed trailer, the simulator includes a grain bin, grain leg, gravity wagon and other training essentials. The simulator is being used across the state as part of the State Fire Marshal’s goal to partner with local fire departments and deliver training directly to the departments.

The CART was developed by senior students in The Ohio State University Department of Food, Agricultural and Biological Engineering in partnership with the Ohio Fire Academy and with support from private donors.