The East Otto Fire Department and Cattaraugus County Emergency Services hosted a grain-bin extrication course on Aug. 19. More than 40 people from fire departments and farms throughout Cattaraugus County attended the training to better their skills.

“There are more and more farms in the area that are storing grain,” East Otto Assistant Chief Tim Lexer explained. “We want to be prepared if someone gets stuck.”

The National Education Center for Agricultural Safety, based in Peosta, Iowa, conducted the training. Instructor Dan Neenan held an hour-long classroom training followed by hands-on training. With the help of a grain bin simulator, trainees practiced making cuts in the bin using a grain-bin rescue tube and a battery drill-driven grain auger.

While the departments in the area participated in the training, local farmers were on hand watching to learn about the process as well. Lexer said it’s important for both farmers and first responders to have an understanding of how to handle emergency situations surrounding equipment they use often.

“This is the second time I went through the training, and both times I came away with good information,” Lexer said. “It’s valuable to learn about.”

Gramco, of Springville, provided grain for the simulator and Wilean Farms in East Otto provided space for the training. The Farm Bureau secured grant funding to bring the training to Cattaraugus County. Lexer anticipates that district fire departments will discuss purchasing a grain-bin rescue tube at their next meeting.