A new rescue tool could make grain bin deaths a thing of the past.
Lincoln County fire crews spent Thursday night training on new devices that could save the lives of anyone caught up in rushing grains.
The aluminum shields can save lives when put together by providing a solid barrier to stop the tide of grain farmers can find themselves caught up in within seconds.
"I was up to my shoulders both times and it definitely gets your attention," Eastern Farmers Cooperative Safety Director Tim Neuroth said.
"There's really no reason for a farmer to go into a bin where there's a chance for engulfment," Neuroth said.
But history teaches us they do anyway. That's why thanks to a donation from the elevator, Lincoln County now has the means to get them out.
"It's kind of like a fire truck. You don't buy it because you know you're gonna have a fire. You buy it because you want it available when you need it," Lincoln County Emergency Manager Harold Timmerman said.
Timmerman said the aluminum shields are strong, lightweight, and durable. They fit inside a truck and allow a trained crew to get a trapped farmer out in just 15 minutes.
"They're very stable. They won't collapse. They're also designed so you can take three of the sections against a bin wall should somebody be trapped against the side of a bin," Timmerman said.
The county now owns four sets. It split the $4,000 cost with Eastern Farmers Cooperative. Timmerman says the devices will be distributed among fire departments across the county, so anyone trapped in a bin has a fighting chance to make it through the ordeal.
"The mentality is, I've been doing it this way for many years so I'm willing to roll the dice. Well, within a matter of seconds you're putting your life at risk," Neuroth said.
Eastern Farmers cooperative does match funds to first responders in its service area who purchase equipment to help with grain engulfment and confined space rescues.