Foundation grant buys grain bin rescue kits
TAYLORVILLE – A Taylorville Memorial Foundation grant has equipped local firefighters to rescue a person trapped inside a grain bin – an accident with often tragic outcomes that has occurred with alarming frequency in Christian County, said Taylorville’s fire chief.
“Grain bin rescues are known as low-frequency/ high-risk calls,” said Taylorville Fire Department chief Nick Hackney. “But, unfortunately, they have become more frequent in our fire district and mutual aid districts in Christian County.”
Hackney said his department has responded to three emergency calls involving grain bin rescues in the past two years. “Sadly, one of those calls was a recovery, instead of a rescue,” he said.
As a result, 24 firefighters from the Taylorville Fire Department and its mutual aid districts enrolled in grain bin rescue certification classes through the Illinois Fire Service Institute.
A $15,000 community health grant from the Taylorville Memorial Foundation allows the fully trained firefighters to also be fully equipped, said Hackney.
The grant provided equipment for three rope rescue kits, 10 personal kits for rescuers, as well as a battery-powered cut-off saw for cutting into a grain bin and three battery-powered light towers to illuminate inside the bin, on top of the bin and on the ground outside the bin during a rescue. The grant also covers the cost of two MSA Safety Company Altair 4X gas monitors, which allow rescuers in the bin and outside the bin to measure gas levels simultaneously.
The grant is provided through the foundation’s board-directed Community Health Grant Program, which launched in 2021 to assist with funding health-related projects in Christian County.
“Taylorville Memorial Hospital is a community hospital serving a rural population with needs that are often very specific to the work that occurs on a farm or agricultural production site,” said Raedena Ryan, the foundation’s executive director. “We are proud to offer this assistance to our local firefighters, who will use this equipment in combination with their expertise to save lives.”
During a training exercise, firefighters use a ladder jib to practice entry into a grain bin. The entry team is using a grain cart to simulate a bin. See full story at left.