Fort Loramie to get grain silo rescue equipment

By Aimee Hancock -

FORT LORAMIE — The Ohio Farm Bureau announced its donation of $2,600 to the Fort Loramie Community Fire Company, for the purchase of a grain silo rescue tube, during the fire department’s regular meeting on April 1.

Farm Bureau Organization Director Jill Smith, along with Farm Bureau volunteer Raci Zimpfer, presented an oversized check to the department during the meeting.

“On behalf of the Shelby County Farm Bureau, we are super excited to be able to give you guys $2,600 for the grain tube,” Smith said. “We’ve been working on this with (Assistant Fire Chief Tim Siegel) for a long time, so we’re really happy to be able to do this.”

Smith explained that the money was raised through multiple sources, including from ticket sale proceeds following the bureau’s annual “Farm to Table” dinner event. Each year, a portion of the event’s proceeds go toward a different charity.

“We raised about $1,000 from the ‘Farm to Table’ dinner,” she said. “Then we personally, at the Shelby County Farm Bureau, put in a little money, and Rusty Eilerman Insurance gave us some donations. We then wrote a grant ourselves to get to the $2,600 that it will take to buy the grain tube.”

Smith said the choice to donate to the Fort Loramie Fire Department stemmed from the bureau’s previous attempts at securing funding for the purchase of a grain rescue tube.

“We had worked with the department here for a little while trying to get a grant, or to somehow help them get a grain tube, because we wanted to have grain rescue tubes available in each quadrant of the county, so if something did happen, there would be one close by,” she said. “There wasn’t one in this part of the county, so we concentrated on Fort Loramie to help them raise the money. When we had the ‘Farm to Table’ dinner, this was a logical choice for us to make sure they got the money.”

The grain bin rescue tube is made of lightweight, high strength aluminum, with a sleek finish to allow the equipment to slide easily into grain. In the event that a person falls into a grain silo, the rescue tube surrounds the victim, allowing rescuers to use a vacuum to remove the grain from directly around the person, making extraction easier.

The tubes are designed to allow rescuers to easily lift a panel up to join with another, in the event of an extraction from a larger sized grain silo that would require a larger rescue tool.

“(The department) just wanted something that would be compatible with other fire departments’ equipment because if something like that would happen, they would most likely call multiple squads, so the other responding firefighters will be trained on the system and be able to use their equipment together,” Zimpfer said. “There are more and more grain bins being put up by farmers in our areas, and the desire to have something that can save a life is the goal.”

Fort Loramie Community Fire Company Chief Brad Schulze said he has never encountered first-hand the task of extracting someone from a grain silo, but noted that it’s better to be safe than sorry.

“It’s one of those incidents that is low occurrence, but high impact,” Schulze said. “The grain holders are getting bigger and bigger, so it’s possible that this will save a life.”

Schulze said a training program will be held later this year in order to educate the firefighters on the use and safety of working with grain silo rescue tubes.

By Aimee Hancock

Reach the writer at 937-538-4825.

Reach the writer at 937-538-4825.