Grain bin rescue tubes important

Going forward, a small community in Pennsylvania and its fire department could be in the spotlight for life-saving achievements, not only close to home but well beyond the borough’s borders.

Already, the borough is justified in feeling proud about what will be forthcoming.

As the June 28 article detailed, the Williamsburg Volunteer Fire Department will be one of 58 departments across the United States to receive grain rescue tubes and hands-on training to prepare its firefighters for grain bin entrapments.

Such entrapments are not an everyday emergency. Perhaps the department’s soon-to-be acquired grain-rescue training might only be necessary once or twice a year — perhaps only once in several years.

The important thing is that superior rescue capability will be available if it is needed, when it is needed.

Beyond the acquisition of the necessary equipment and training, the department will have to organize the response details, since a fire crew is not stationed at the fire hall at all times.

Apparently, people of the borough, as well as residents of area townships that house many farms, are confident of the fire department’s ability to develop and fine-tune that vital life-saving resource.

That confidence actually is the reason why the department is receiving the rescue equipment and training. The Williamsburg department was nominated by the community; department members visited businesses and farms in the Williamsburg area, providing them with the necessary information to go online and participate in the nomination process.

Details of the nomination effort also were posted on the department’s Facebook page.

“We have been working hard as a team to train in different areas of technical rescue and having this equipment to rescue those from a grain entrapment is just one more way we can help keep our community safe,” said Jon Isenberg, a Williamsburg Department captain.

“Our farmers mean everything to us,” he added.

The training and equipment will be provided by Nationwide in partnership with the National Education Center for Agricultural Safety, which is based in Iowa.

“We have had grain rescues; this will make our job a lot easier if there is an event,” said Fire Chief Ted Hyle, who also is Williamsburg’s mayor.

At least five of the 265 U.S. fire departments that so far have received the equipment and training in question have used their rescue tubes and preparation in successful efforts to rescue trapped workers.

While it is reasonable to hope that such need never arises here, it is comforting knowing that there will be emergency equipment and expertise to respond, if it is needed.

All of Pennsylvania’s farming enterprises owe the Williamsburg department a debt of gratitude for this initiative on their behalf.


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