Firefighters practice farm rescue training
Chief Jerry Minor with Brownfield’s Larry Lee
Firefighters from around Wisconsin practiced handling farm-related rescues and incidents Saturday.
Pittsville chief and trainer Jerry Minor says their goal is to keep emergency responders safe when they respond to on-farm emergencies. “Farm accidents are not something we do every day so they’re an infrequent thing but the dangers they present to fire and rescue personnel are significant.”
Minor says the training involved five different scenarios that commonly happen on farms including a tractor rollover rescue, silo rescue, grain bin rescue, and equipment extrication.
Minor says getting someone freed from farm machinery is much more difficult than a car wreck because there is a lot more wrenching than cutting. “We’re tearing apart corn pickers and we’re tearing apart places where people will put their hands, where we know accidents happen. This is the time of year when a good majority of our calls happen, harvest time.”
Minor encourages farmers and fire departments to reach out to each other so that farmers can learn about potential hazards and so firefighters know about unique features and where utility and machine shutoffs are located. “Maybe there’s some special thing that that farm does. In Marathon County, we discovered a ginseng kiln on a dairy farm. Very unique, but it presents other hazards.”
Minor says many of the farms in his area have worked with fire departments and are on the Farm Mapper software to identify hazards and shutoffs.
Minor says harvest season is also when farm and grain facility fires are common because of the dust, heat, and mechanical friction. He tells Brownfield there were three combine fires and an almost-new grain dryer fire in Marathon County Friday.
The training was hosted at Heiman Holsteins and Heeg Farms near Chili, Wisconsin and was coordinated by the National Farm Medicine Center along with two dozen sponsors. Many of the volunteer firefighters are also farmers.