BLAIR COUNTY, Pa (WTAJ) – The Williamsburg Volunteer Fire Department has a new tool to help with farm rescues.

The department was given a grain rescue tube and auger from Nationwide Insurance with sponsorship from the Pennsylvania Farm Bureau. On Thursday, Aug. 18 the department held a training simulation to showcase how the machine works.

The machine was gifted by Nationwide as part of grain bin safety week, which focuses on the prevention of grain bin injuries and deaths.

Dan Neenan, the Director of the National Education Center for Agricultural Safety was there to explain how the tube works.

“So if you were to take a 165 lbs person and trap them to their waist — it would take 325 lbs of pressure pulling up on them to get them out, you could injure them so if we build the coffer dam, sink it down around them and then evacuate the grain from inside until they come loose on their own they don’t get injured in the extrication,” Neenan said.

“We want the farmers to do a zero-entry mentality that we’re not going to get into the bin because if we don’t get into the bin we could never get trapped but if the grain gets out of condition and stops flowing through the auger the farmer’s going to go down and try to rectify that problem so that’s why it’s important for the fire department to be able to have the equipment and have the training to be able to go in and get somebody who may be trapped by the grain in there,” Neenan said.

Neenan said that a lot of accidents happen when farmers try to fix clogs in the grain bin. Before the tool, 80% of people trapped didn’t make it out.

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Nationwide also announced that in partnership with the National Education Center for Agricultural Safety, the Williamsburg Fire Department was one of 58 other organizations to receive life-saving grain rescue tubes and hands-on training. The organizations were nominated in the Nominate Your Fire Department Contest.

Williamsburg also invited neighboring first responders to take part in the training.