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Albert Lea Fire Department Awarded Grant for Equipment and Training

July 11, 2018 07:33 PM

(ABC 6 News)-- It’s an accident that happens much too often on the farm.

But one area fire department is about to get the equipment and expertise to help keep an accident from becoming a tragedy.

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"The grain just keeps squeezing all the time, and every little bit it can get it will not give back," Mower County FSA director Kirk Phelps said.

“A lot like quicksand when it just encompasses you and you try to take that breath in and it just continues to suffocate you," deputy Albert Lea Fire Chief Jeff Laskowske added.

Statistics show that there's a 62 percent fatality rate when someone becomes trapped in a grain bin.

But the Albert Lea fire department has received a grant from Nationwide insurance to improve the odds.

The grant includes a rescue tube and training to use it.

"When somebody is trapped in the grain the biggest issue is every time they take a breath in the grain continues to pile in around them and won't return and expand, so it gets harder to breathe," deputy fire chief Jeff Laskowske said.

"Just kind of like water, you sort of drown in it,” FSA director Kirk Phelps said.

“This tube is designed in multiple pieces you start driving down into the grain," Jeff Laskowske told us.

“And as grain bins get bigger and bigger,” Mower County FSA Director Kirk Phelps said. “The pressure from the really tall grain bins  is a lot more intense at the bottom than the smaller bins used to be.”

“And then you use an auger to remove the grain out of it and continue to drive the tube down in as you continue to auger the grain out the person can actually climb out of the tube or you can retrieve them out of the tube,” deputy Albert Lea Fire Chief Jeff Laskowske said. “In the last two and a half years we've actually had two people within Freeborn county trapped in a grain bin. Both instances grain bin rescue tubes were able to be deployed in those areas and those people recovered from the grain bin with no loss of life. And like I said we just want to make sure we have the right tools to make sure we take care of somebody. Just like we have the right tools to fight fires  we want to have the right tools to take care of somebody when they're trapped in a grain bin."

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Dan Conradt

Copyright 2018 - KAAL-TV, LLC A Hubbard Broadcasting Company

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