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Local Editorials

Kudos to donors of grain bin rescue tubes

Rural fire departments in Dixon and Rock Falls have been the recipients of grain bin rescue tubes. We salute the community-minded donors for their life-saving gifts.

The Dixon Rural Fire Department has many pieces of equipment valued at more than $2,000 – much more, in some cases.

But the grain bin rescue tubes acquired last year could have a value far above their $2,000 price tag.

For someone trapped in a grain bin, those rescue tubes could mean the difference between life and death.

The tubes have yet to be used in an actual rescue, fortunately.

But if firefighters are called to the scene of a grain bin entrapment, the rescue process could be up to 40 minutes faster than previously possible.

We salute firefighter Isaac Dimmig for investigating the options for grain bin rescue tubes.

And we salute Scott Stoller, of Ag Perspective, for arranging the rescue equipment to be purchased by Ag Perspective and donated to the fire department.

Because Dixon Rural has mutual aid agreements with other area fire departments, the grain bin rescue tubes will be available for rescues in a broader area outside the fire district.

This is the second donation of grain bin rescue equipment to an area fire department in recent months.

The Rock Falls Rural Fire Protection District was the recipient of a grain bin rescue tube donated by the Schmitt family, which owns and operates Shar-El Farms.

The tube is housed in the Rock Falls station, but is available for mutual aid calls.

We likewise salute the Schmitts for their generous, community-minded gift.

In 2010, the tragedy of grain bin entrapments and suffocations hit home in our region. On March 19, a 37-year-old man died in a Steward grain bin. On July 28, a 14-year-old boy and 19-year-old young man died in a Mount Carroll grain bin.

Those tragedies, and others that year, prompted greater awareness of the danger and greater enforcement of existing safety laws.

The hazards remain. Just this past Monday, a 44-year-old man from Red Bud in southern Illinois fell into a grain bin filled with corn and died.

Grain bin safety seminars have helped farmers and workers understand the dangers of becoming submerged in grain. If they embrace the lessons learned from those seminars, their chances of getting trapped are greatly reduced.

But if another grain bin entrapment ever occurs, it’s good to know that two local fire departments are equipped with potentially life-saving rescue equipment.

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