KU News Release


September 7, 2012
Contact: Glenn Pribbenow, Kansas Fire & Rescue Training Insitute, 785-864-9199; Kyle Garcia, KU Continuing Education, 785-864-7857

KU to showcase grain engulfment rescue trailer at Kansas State Fair

LAWRENCE — The Kansas Fire & Rescue Training Institute at University of Kansas Continuing Education will showcase its mobile grain engulfment rescue trailer at the Kansas State Fair through Sept. 16 in Hutchinson. The new piece of customized equipment was built to simulate grain entrapment and includes a grain bin, hopper and an assortment of rescue tools and equipment designed to help rescue victims from potentially perilous situations. It is the key component of a new traveling rescue-training course offered by KF&RTI statewide.

“This training will save lives,” said Glenn Pribbenow, KF&RTI director. “That is why it’s crucial that we train first responders and grain workers in communities throughout Kansas.”

Purchase of the trailer was made possible by a gift of $90,000 from the Kansas Grain and Feed Association, the Kansas Cooperative Council and the Kansas Farmers Service Association. Together, these organizations represent all phases of the grain industry in Kansas.

The organizations’ monetary donations came from private member contributions.
"This training provides a vital service to our Kansas communities,” said Leslie Kaufman, KCC president and CEO. "The skills acquired in this simulation can be used in other emergency situations at businesses or on farms."

The training course is designed to improve training of grain-handling facilities workers who will be drilled alongside firefighters in rescue procedures for individuals trapped in grain bins and hoppers. Entrapment incidents have been trending upward due to increasing amounts of grain, particularly corn, being produced and handled in the United States. Nationally, 38 grain entrapments occurred in 2009, up 10 percent from 2008.

“Our customers identified the need for a quality grain rescue program that can be delivered to all parts of the state,” said Mitch Williams, KFSA CEO. “This partnership will help meet the needs of both the fire service and the grain industry.”

Entrapment generally occurs when a worker enters a bin to dislodge large portions of grain kernels that have stuck together, preventing them from being extracted by bin machinery. Whether entrapment occurs from the collapse of vertical grain walls or bridged grain (grain kernels stuck together to form a deceptively treacherous crusted ceiling), or entrapment in flowing grain, these are critical situations where time is limited, locating victims is often difficult, and rescue is treacherous.

“Safety is of primary concern to the industry,” said Tom Tunnell, KGFA president and CEO. “First and foremost is training to prevent entrapments, but it is also important that grain handlers and firefighters be prepared to respond in an emergency.”

The KGFA, headquartered in Topeka, is a voluntary association made up of more than 950 Kansas business locations and represents 99 percent of the commercially licensed grain storage in the state. The KCC, also based in Topeka, is a voluntary trade organization of cooperatively structured businesses in Kansas. Its functions include legislative and policy information, education, communication and public relations. The KFSA, located in Dodge City, provides risk management services and commercial insurance for agribusinesses throughout the Midwest.

The Kansas Fire & Rescue Training Institute, headquartered in Lawrence, provides training for firefighters in Kansas communities. The Institute is a dynamic organization providing training services through a "Mobile Fire Academy" concept, designed to accommodate local needs through training delivered anywhere in Kansas. The Institute trains thousands of firefighters each year.

The KF&RTI is now taking requests for grain engulfment rescue training. To arrange for training in your community, contact the KF&RTI at (866) 804-8844 or by email. For more information visit the website. Also, see digital audio and video interviews associated with this announcement here.



The University of Kansas is a major comprehensive research and teaching university. University Relations is the central public relations office for KU's Lawrence campus.

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