Specially Trained Firefighters Needed for Grain Elevator Rescue

Firefighters specially trained in confined-space rescue saved a man who was trapped in a filled grain elevator at Premier Cooperative in Sydney, IL.  The team of firefighters is comprised of firefighters from the Urbana, Champaign and Danville fire departments and serves all of Champaign County.

Employees had been augering grain from a bin when it stopped flowing.  Reports estimated there was about four feet of grain at the center of the bin and about 20 feet tapering upward along the walls. One of the workers climbed down to unplug the auger and the machine collapsed, causing him to fall to the bottom and the 20 feet of grain along the walls to bury him.

Fourteen firefighters and four instructors from the University of Illinois' Fire Services Institute responded to the call and helped removed grain to free the victim. The team split up into groups of four and five and worked for about 30 minutes at a time.

Compounding the difficulty of the rescue was the temperature. With outside temperatures hovering around 90, the temperature inside the grain bin soared to 120 degrees. Rescuers wore face masks to try to keep from inhaling grain dust. Working with heavy rigging and ropes, they were finally able to pull the victim out three and half hours after he fell in. Tragically, the 55 year-old man had died.

Confined space rescue represents one of the most challenging and dangerous rescue operations undertaken by local fire departments today. Emergency Film Group’s three-part training DVD series provides a comprehensive examination of response issues in a confined space emergency. To learn more, read here. . .


Plywood is loaded into a grain bin elevator where a man was trapped. Plywood is loaded into a grain bin elevator where a man was trapped.


Read now

U.S. Forest Service Bracing for Bad Year of Wildfires

The Unites States Forest Services is bracing for another bad year of wildfires. Areas most at risk include Southern California, Arizona, New Mexico, the eastern Rockies and Florida. Persistent drought conditions and infestations of the tree-killing bark beetle have left the nation’s woodlands at high risk. The agency is also struggling with cuts to its fire-fighting budget.

Last year was the third most-active wildfire season since 1960, with more than 9.3 million acres of public and private land burned. The Forest Service spent $1.4 billion in fire-fighting cost and predicts the same activity this season.

Fires burn hotter and faster than they did a decade ago, attributed to warmer and drier weather. Last year was the warmest on record for the country. Warmer weather brings drier vegetation, which fuels the fires, causing them to spread much quicker. The warm weather extends wildfire seasons by 60-70 days a year.

Another threat is the infestation of bark beetles, which have invaded an estimated 46 million acres in the western part of the country, creating highly flammable stands of dead trees.

The American Red Cross has announced a new iPhone/Android app for wildfires. According to the app description, “Blaze Warnings let you see where NOAA has issued wildfire warnings, Blaze Alerts notifies you when a new wildfire occurs and the Blaze Path Tracker gives you a current view of the wildfire's track and perimeter. You can also let loved ones know that you are safe even if the power is out and learn what steps you should take to prepare your family, home and pets – all from the palm of your hand.” T receive a link to download the app, dial **REDCROSS (**73327677) from your mobile phone. The app can also be found at iTunes or Google Play app stores.

Emergency Film Group’s Wildland Firefighter 2 offers a unique delivery platform and wildland fire qualification system unmatched by any other wildland training program. To learn more, read here. . .

Wildfire The U.S. Forest Service is bracing for another bad year of wildfires.
Read now