Grain bin entrapment has long been one of the chief farm safety concerns for a wide variety of concerned parties. Flowing grain is much like quicksand and can kill a worker within a few seconds.

Yet, each year, some farmers continue to risk their lives by climbing inside. There have been at least 19 deaths from grain engulfment since August 2019, according to Brad Liggett, president of Nationwide Agribusiness. According to researchers at Purdue University, 370 grain entrapment cases have been recorded in the last 10 years.

That’s why Nationwide and others initiated Grain Bin Safety Week, from Feb. 16-22. The firm is also launching its seventh annual Nominate Your Fire Department Contest where first responders can apply to win a grain rescue tube and training. Since 2014, Nationwide has awarded grain bin rescue tubes and training to 111 fire departments in 26 states. Four of these fire departments have already put their tubes and training to use by rescuing workers trapped in grain bins.

“We prefer that no one go into a bin, but with training and proper equipment, more first responders are learning how to get someone out alive,” Liggett added. Nominations are open until April 30.

To also draw attention to the issue, Nationwide Agribusiness, Corteva Agriscience and the National Education Center for Agriculture Safety (NECAS) have joined forces to host a live grain engulfment simulation and rescue demonstration on Friday, Feb. 21, at the NECAS training facility in Peosta, Iowa. Iowa’s Deputy Secretary of Ag, Julie Kenney will be participating in the event.

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