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Chesapeake Farm Bureau donates grain bin rescue equipment to local fire department

Chesapeake Farm Bureau donates grain bin rescue equipment to local fire department

Grain bin fatalities continue to be a concern in rural America, and Chesapeake farmers are working to prevent similar tragedies in their community.

According to statistics published by Purdue University, there were 29 grain entrapments in 2021, leading to seven fatalities. Reported entrapments decreased from 2020, which may be due to increased grain safety awareness and additional rescue equipment being available.

Chesapeake Farm Bureau would like to see the number of grain bin entrapments continue to decline, so it has donated life-saving rescue equipment to the Chesapeake Fire Department.

“Our board of directors has been considering the purchase of a grain bin rescue tube for a while, as there are numerous large farms and grain storage facilities in Chesapeake,” said Byron Stonecypher, Chesapeake Farm Bureau president. “To help protect our farmers, we decided to join in on a bulk order that was being placed by numerous county Farm Bureaus in Virginia.”

The device, called the Great Wall of Rescue, consists of aluminum panels that create a tube to assist with grain bin extractions, surrounding a trapped victim to relieve pressure from funneling grain. Once the tube is inserted into the grain, it acts as a retaining wall as grain is removed from inside, ultimately freeing the victim.

In four seconds, an adult can sink knee-deep in flowing grain and be rendered unable to free themselves without assistance. In just 20 seconds, an adult can be fully engulfed, according to Purdue University.

Dana Fisher, chair of the Virginia Farm Bureau Federation Farm Safety Advisory Committee, said the addition of grain bin rescue equipment is a victory for area farmers.

"Having these extraction tubes around, and having people trained and aware of the dangers brings light to the fact that grain bins aren’t as simple as people think,” he said.

Chesapeake Farm Bureau fully funded the purchase of the equipment, valued around $4,000. The organization’s Women’s Leadership Committee assembled a list of local farms and addresses where a grain emergency could occur.

Chesapeake Farm Bureau is one of 88 county Farm Bureaus in the Virginia Farm Bureau Federation. With 133,000 members, VFBF is Virginia’s largest farmers’ advocacy group. Farm Bureau is a non-governmental, nonpartisan, voluntary organization committed to supporting Virginia’s agriculture industry.

Media: Contact Stonecypher at 757-641-0337 or Fisher at 540-975-1849.