ILLIOPOLIS, Ill. (WCIA) — A rural fire protection district in central Illinois was recently given specialized training and equipment to aid in grain bin rescues.

The Illiopolis Fire Protection District was awarded a grain rescue tube and specialized training on July 13. These resources come from Nationwide Insurance and AGU SureTrack as part of Nationwide’s Grain Bin Safety advocacy campaign.

Every year, thousands of farmers and commercial grain handlers enter grain bins to remove clumped or clotted grain, risking their lives in the process.

“It only takes seconds, or a simple mistake, for an adult to sink in the quicksand-like flow of grain and become fully entrapped or engulfed. Adding to the risk is a lack of rescue equipment available to local fire departments and emergency responders who are called for help when a worker becomes trapped,” said Brad Liggett, Nationwide’s president of Agribusiness. “To help lead the fight against these accidents impacting agricultural communities, the country’s leading insurer of farms and ranches, Nationwide, began its Grain Bin Safety campaign in 2014 to bring awareness to the hazards of entering grain structures and to equip fire departments with the resources needed to respond effectively.”

The IFPD is one of more than 58 rural fire departments to receive these resources in 2022, and one of 265 since Nationwide’s program began. At least five departments have used the resources they received during grain bin rescues since 2014.