The dangers of working in grain bins hit home to Northeast Texas residents on March 4when 32-year-old Paul Chelius suffocated in a bin of soybeans, said Mike Morrow, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service agent for Lamar County.
In response to the tragedy, family and friends of Chelius, the Lamar County Farm Bureau board, AgriLife Extension for Lamar County, Oklahoma Cooperative Extension Service and other area agencies have worked together to acquire rescue equipment and provide training to area first responders and farmers on grain bin safety and rescue.
The first such training will be Sept. 3 at the Love Civic Center, 2025 S. Collegiate Drive in Paris. The classroom part of the training will begin at 6 p.m., followed by an outside demonstration of newly acquired equipment specifically designed for such incidences. A hamburger supper will be provided by the Lamar County Farm Bureau during the outside training.
Morrow said the training has been designed for firefighters and first responders, but is free and open to the public.
“The safety awareness and other parts of the indoor training could be valuable to farmers, ranchers or anyone who works around grain bins,” he said.
Indoor presentations will include: “Awareness Training,” “What Makes Grain Go Bad?,” “What Happens When it Does?” and “Potential Dangers to Workers and Rescuers.”
The training will be led by Dr. Carol Jones, an agricultural engineer with Oklahoma State University at Stillwater, Oklahoma, Morrow said.
There will also be examples of rescue equipment and techniques shown in the indoor session, including bin cutting, cofferdams, rescue tubes, safety harnesses and bin-entry kits.
The 7 p.m. outside demonstrations will offer advice about cutting into bins and show how to use rescue tubes.
“First responders will have the opportunity to gain valuable hands-on experience using the newly acquired rescue equipment in actual grain,” Morrow said.