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Grain Bin Safety Week runs Feb. 18-24

Nationwide’s Grain Bin Safety Week and fire department contest have provided equipment and training used in 10 grain rescues.

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In a series of alarming incidents that underscore the growing danger in America's agricultural sector, three grain entrapment cases occurred within the first week of 2024, one in Indiana on January 1 and two more in Arkansas just three days later. These incidents, which exemplify a near 45% increase in grain entrapment cases since 2021, were met with swift and successful rescue operations thanks to the specialized training and equipment provided by Nationwide’s Grain Bin Safety program.

In 2022 alone, the U.S. witnessed at least 42 reported grain entrapments, the highest in a decade, and a staggering 44.8% increase from the previous year. Tragically, 15 of these incidents resulted in fatalities. The rapidity of these accidents is startling: an adult can be knee-deep in flowing grain in just four seconds, and fully engulfed in under 20 seconds, leading to suffocation from engulfment or oxygen-deficient atmospheres.

Nationwide, recognizing the severity of this issue, has been at the forefront of addressing grain bin safety. For over a decade, the company has been instrumental in advocating for better safety measures in the industry. Brad Liggett, president of Agribusiness at Nationwide, emphasized the critical need for proper safety procedures when working around grain bins.

The company’s Grain Bin Safety Week, scheduled for February 18-24, 2024, continues to raise awareness and promote safer practices. A notable initiative of this campaign is the annual Nominate Your Fire Department Contest, which provides rural fire departments with the necessary rescue training and equipment to handle grain entrapments. This contest is now open for nominations until April 30, 2024.

Since the start of Nationwide's campaign in 2014, in partnership with various organizations, they have donated 332 grain rescue tubes to first responders in 32 states, an investment exceeding $1 million. These resources have been instrumental in at least ten successful rescues, including the recent ones in Arkansas and Indiana.

Collaborating with the National Education Center for Agricultural Safety (NECAS), Nationwide ensures that these first responders are not only equipped but also adequately trained for such emergencies. Dan Neenan, director at NECAS, highlighted the critical role of timely and effective response by rural fire departments in these life-threatening situations.

The initiative is supported by numerous partners and relies on cash contributions for purchasing grain bin tubes and training, all managed through NECAS, a 501(c)(3) non-profit.

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