UNIVERSITY PARK, Pennsylvania – The May 2 death of a 68-year-old Cumberland County farmer who succumbed to poison gas while working in a silo underscores the dangers associated with farming, which is l one of the most dangerous professions in the United States.
In 2020, 39 people were killed in farm-related incidents in Pennsylvania, an increase from previous years. These agricultural emergencies require specialized knowledge and training for first responders, according to Penn State agricultural safety specialists.
To prepare emergency responders, Penn State Extension, through its Agricultural Safety and Health Program, offers numerous training and demonstrations designed for fire and rescue services, emergency medical services, law enforcement and members of the farming community.
“These trainings could mean the difference between life and death in an agricultural emergency,” said Judd Michael, professor of national safety and health and professor of agricultural and biological engineering at Penn State’s College of Agricultural. Science.
A 2018 incident illustrates Michael’s point. In this case, a Pennsylvania farmer trapped in a grain silo was rescued by first responders who were able to save him with training from Penn State Extension. At the time, the local fire chief noted that several on-site responders said training came back to them that day, and the farmer was pulled from the grain, unharmed.
Penn State’s Ag Safety and Health team has planned several grain elevator rescue awareness training programs for 2022, including a summer course for responders in Catawissa, Benton and Mifflinville and a course in the county of Columbia at the end of October. The six-hour program will teach emergency responders about the dangers associated with grain handling and storage.
The workshop will cover best practices for rescuer safety and explore strategies for handling a grain entrapment or engulfment incident. To gain hands-on experience, participants will use a grain rescue tube in Penn State’s Grain Entrapment Simulation Trailer.
Topics covered in previous workshops this year have included both Grain Elevator Rescue Awareness and Grain Elevator Rescue – a 20-hour program that builds on the awareness course and is designed for first responders in a grain entrapment or engulfment emergency. Participants learn how to safely access a trapped person and the strategies to treat, free and wrap the person for safe and efficient extraction from the grain silo.
Other training programs offered to first responders include:
— Introduction to agricultural emergencies.
— Management of tractor and machine emergencies.
— Raising awareness of silo fires.
— Silo fire operations.
— Large animal rescue training.
These programs can be customized and offered on demand, Michael said. First responder organizations throughout Pennsylvania interested in a program can apply to the Agricultural Safety and Health Program to bring the training to their county. Classes can be scheduled individually or through a county workgroup. The Ag Safety team can provide more information on fees and availability.
Additionally, the Ag Safety and Health program offers many on-farm safety demonstrations that can be booked or borrowed by contacting the program via email or phone. A demonstration illustrates how grain flows into storage structures and rescue procedures that can free a victim trapped in the grain flow.
Another demonstration, the “mini-tilt table”, teaches participants about rollover incidents by displaying the center of gravity and stability baseline of a tractor, skid steer loader and all-terrain vehicle. ground. For young audiences between the ages of 8 and 16, “Mr. Egg” shows the center of gravity and baseline stability of a tractor.
Events planned for 2022, such as Farm Safety Day and a 4-H Animal Science Camp, will use demonstrations to educate children about farm safety, who are a crucial audience. In 2020, nearly 26% of deaths on Pennsylvania farms were children 19 and under.
“We need to do more training and more demonstrations to keep people – especially children – safe on farms,” Michael said. Penn State Extension’s Agricultural Safety and Health Team also offers youth safety education through its National Tractor and Machinery Safety Program.
More information and resources, including articles, videos, and courses, are available on the Penn State Extension website.