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By Erin Smith

The Elizabethtown Fire Department has expanded its rescue capabilities by adding a grain bin rescue tube to its equipment. The grain bin rescue tube was obtained with assistance from Farm Bureau.

The rescue tube helps firefighters to relieve the pressure of the grain pressing against the victim and to help remove the grain surrounding the victim.

Jimmy Mize, of the Elizabethtown Fire Department, explained that, when someone becomes entrapped in a grain bin, all of the grain tends to travel to the bottom of the bin and it sucks the victim down into the bin along with the grain.

“What this kit does, is it essentially makes a tube around them (the victim) using this and it will take some of the pressure from the grain off of them,” said Mize.

He explained that once the tube is built around the victim, the tube has an auger that is operated by a drill that rescuers can use to remove the grain from around the victim, thereby freeing the victim.

“That auger can move two bushels of grain per minute,” said Mize.

The tube has a ladder inside and outside for rescuers and/or the victim to use to escape the grain.

Mize said the tube also comes with two crates for the firefighters to stand on to prevent them from becoming entrapped in the grain, as well.

When asked what prompted the fire department to seek a grain bin rescue tube, Mize said the department occasionally receives agriculture-related rescue calls and they assisted with a grain bin rescue near Clarkton several years ago.

In June 2004, Elizabethtown Fire Department and Lisbon Fire Department were dispatched to a call of a man trapped in a grain silo. Seven different fire departments responded to the scene and the rescue took all day, according to reports. Mize said on that day, the responding fire departments used lumber to build a similar tube by hand to free the farm workers. He said the process took almost a day to complete.

Mize said by having a grain bin rescue tube with them, it will help to rapidly improve the amount of time it will take to free someone who becomes trapped. He also said the grain bin rescue tube is available to any fire department in the county that needs it.

Mize said there are several grain silos throughout the county and the grain bin rescue tube will be an asset not to the Elizabethtown Fire Department but to the county as well.

Another added service at the fire department is the capacity to do car seat checks.

“The fire department is considered a permanent check station for the County of Bladen,” said Assistant Fire Chief Anthony Norris.

Assistant Chief Norris said he has completed the car seat technician class and the information has been submitted to the State of North Carolina.

Residents can stop by the fire department located on Swanky Street Monday through Friday between hours of 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. to have their car seat inspected or assistance with installing the car seat.

He said some things people should be aware when it comes to their car seats is they do have an expiration date. Residents should check to make sure their car seat is valid and has not expired. Assistant Chief Norris said when you have a used car seat, make sure of what happened with that car seat and make sure the car seat is right the age and weight of your child.

Elizabethtown Firefighters’ Burned Children Fund, Inc.

The fire department has also founded a local chapter of the Firefighters’ Burned Children Fund, Inc. Elizabethtown Fire Chief Nick West and Assistant Chief Norris both said the department is selling Challenge Coins for $10 each and they have a trailer to collect aluminum cans located across the street from the fire department. The cans are recycled and funds raised are used to assist burn victims.

“Several years ago, we were awarded a grant for the can trailer. That was through the Firefighters’ Burned Children Fund,” said Chief West.

The goal is to raise funds to assist burn victims in their recovery. You can purchase a Challenge Coin from the fire department located on Swanzy Street in Elizabethtown and drop off your aluminum cans in the can trailer for recycling.

To learn more about the Firefighters’ Burned Children Fund, Inc.. go to www.ffbcf.org.

 

 

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