The Warsaw and Hamilton Fire departments are teaming up and preparing for the worst.
The last time there was a grain bin accident in Western Illinois, the victim nearly died before the right equipment showed up to save his life.
To prevent this from happening again, the Warsaw and Hamilton Fire Departments have teamed up to buy the right equipment, and Saturday they got a chance to test it out.
On Saturday, firefighters from both departments simulated rescuing someone who has fallen into a grain bin.
"It's like quick-sand almost, and the more I moved the faster I sank." That's the description WGEM reporter, Jenny Dreasler, gave when she got a first hand glimpse of how terrifying it is to be the victim of a grain bin accident.
"It's going to be hard for your respiratory breathing, actually it's going to feel like an elephant on your chest. But if you're completely engulfed it's just a matter of time, it's basically like a drowning," said Mark Baker, an Instructor with Stateline Farm and Rescue.
And that's exactly why Baker says he teaches firefighters that they have to move fast.
In Saturday's training, firefighters got to test out their new harnesses, ropes, and a rescue tube, the key piece of equipment used in saving grain bin victims.
Something Warsaw Fire Chief Steve Siegrist says was a necessary buy.
"We've got approximately 100-120 grain bins in our two assigned districts, so that's why we felt like it was important to take this project on," said Siegrist.
The tubing works by lowering sections into the grain bin and fitting the sections together around the victim.
The firefighters must work quickly, but also carefully, as each step firefighters take, the more pressure that's put on the victim's breathing.
Meanwhile, crews outside the grain bin are training with their new saw, cutting open the bin to release some of the pressure put on buy the grain.
It's a careful process firefighters have to learn and master, as Baker says it's a situation they could encounter in real life.
"In the last 3-4 months here we've had about 7 cases in the region of entrapments and deaths, so this is getting to be more of a common type of accident that we see," said Baker.
Once the victim is secured by the tubing, crews and the victim work to dig out from the grain, to safety.
Siegrist says with the new equipment on board, and training underway, they feel much more prepared for this type of emergency.
"We know what to expect and what we've got to do and where we've got to go to help the person out," said Siegrist.
Crews also trained on how to save a person whose arm or leg has been entangled in an auger.
Siegrist says both departments would still like to buy more equipment for grain bin rescues.
If you'd like to donate, call the Warsaw or Hamilton Fire Department.
Warsaw Fire Department: (217) 256-4515
Hamilton Fire Department: (217) 847-2614
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