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July 18, 2013

Trying to stop grain engulfment accidents

Business keeps RES-Q on hand, just in case

STAR CITY — Get trapped in a farm grain bin, and you’ve basically stepped into quicksand — the more you try to climb out, the faster you sink in.

A Star City business is training area first responders to use a new rescue device it purchased for just such an emergency.

Adam Peppers, safety director at Bonnell Grain Handling Inc., understands the importance of action during a life-threatening grain engulfment. That’s why Bonnell asked Safety and Technical Rescue Association, a nonprofit organization based in Michigan, to host a safety and rescue training session with a GSI RES-Q tube last fall.

Bonnell Grain Handling, owned by brothers Mark and Milo Bonnell, has been in business for 40 years and deals with grain handling equipment sales, service and construction.

“Corn acts as quicksand and the faster you fight the quicker you sink,” Peppers said.

The 60-inch rescue device is constructed to fit around an engulfment victim and shield him or her from further grain flow. It is located at Bonnell Grain Handling, Star City, and is available 24/7 for anyone trained to use it.

Peppers said local fire departments and personnel would be able to use the device if and when it’s needed.

Although the device hasn’t been used in a real-life situation, it was used in the training with SATRA.

In September, seven area fire departments attended a training session on how to use the device, Peppers said. Training led by Bill Harp, CEO of SATRA, included two hours of classroom work. After the classroom training, participants were given the opportunity to put on a lifeline and experience being chest-deep in grain while others were able to practice using the RES-Q tube, Harp said.

Some local fire departments, including Lt. Rex Danely at the Cass County Fire District, went to train on the GSI RES-Q device.

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