Northumberland County firefighters and paramedics attended a training session north of Colborne on November 4, 2023 for grain entrapment/extrications.
The event was put on by the Northumberland Federation of Agriculture, co-sponsoring was the Ontario Federation of Agriculture and the Grain Farmer’s of Ontario. Teaching the course was Mike Harp from Search and Technical Rescue Association.
Alan Carruthers is an Alnwick/Haldimand Township firefighter and is also the President of the Northumberland Federation of Agriculture said a specialized transport was brought in from the United States so the emergency responders could get a birds eye view on top of the transport who a person can easily get stuck, but also how to safely extricate the victim.
Safety is a number priority with the training and all the people involved with the scenario were wearing harnesses.
“There was roughly 200 bushels of corn in a tank in a controlled environment.”
Sixty emergency responders were put through the course on Saturday.
“There is a lot of grain silos, grain bins in Northumberland County. There is always the potential for grain entrapment.”
“With the size of grain bins, the capacities, the size of the augers at the bottom of the bins can take grain out in seconds. Whereas some of the old bins could take 30-minutes.”
Carruthers said it’s good practice and gives them an idea what goes on for a rescue of that type.
“A little bit of knowledge goes a long way.”
The scenario dealt with putting four metal pieces around the victim who was stuck in the grain and can’t get out. People who were stuck said it’s almost like quick sand. Once that is secure, anything from a vacuum to using your hands is used to remove the grain from around a person. After that it’s almost as simple as walking out of the metal tube because the grain has been removed from around the victim.
If the person is not visible, tragically, if the person isn’t found quickly it becomes a retrieval.
“There are lots of things the fire department and emergency responders have to deal with and it’s not a simple thing where one or two people can do it.”
The four rescuers work as a team to extricate the victim.
“There is lots of specialized training we go to – we need to know how to attend the incidents with the technology that comes to play.”