Fire departments are preparing for an increase in agricultural incidents in the spring

BURLINGTON, Iowa (KWQC) – As spring approaches, a Quad City Fire Department is bracing for an increase in agriculture-related incidents.

Officials with the Burlington Fire Department tend to see an increase in incidents such as grain bin rescues in the fall and spring.

Since the 1970s, Purdue University has kept statistics on agricultural injuries and deaths.

In 2021, Illinois will see 5 cereal boxes nationwide.

Meanwhile, Iowa leads the nation in limited agricultural space with 8. These incidents include any facilities such as grain bins or waste storage.

A farmer in DeWitt recently died in a grain bin last week.

United States 23 AG workers lost their lives in confined spaces in 2021.

If someone is stuck in a grain bin, Burlington Fire Battalion Chief Todd VanScoy said it’s best not to move because the grain acts almost like quicksand.

“Don’t panic,” VanScoy said. “When you get into corn or beans or any kind of drowning situation, that stuff puts a lot of stress on your own system.”

When entering a vessel, Capt. Robert Byrne recommends notifying someone or having someone else nearby because time is of the essence.

“If we can get to you when the corn is down, at the waist or down, it’s a lot easier to get you out,” Burnt said.

Most Des Moines County departments have access to a device called the Res-Q-Tube.

When crews arrive on scene, they leave soda cans to walk through the grain bin.

They surround the person who was stuck with the machine, use a shovel, take the grain and put it back in the box.

“What we’re trying to do is reduce the stress that goes against your body,” Burnt said. “We’re building a cofferdam around you.”

Burlington and other departments train with these devices every year because they have to be very careful when using them.

“In a situation like this, it takes a lot of hands, a lot of people, fire, EMS, rescue guys,” VanScoy said. “We even use farmers. They are a great asset.”

According to Purdue, 31% of traps will be fatal in 2021, down from 59% historically.

Purdue has not yet released data on agra related traps for 2022.

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