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Firefighters building a coffer dam as part of a grain-engulfment rescue
Financial support from the CHS Seeds for Stewardship matching grants program helps local first responders handle grain-engulfment rescues.

Seeds for Stewardship sows successful grain-engulfment rescue in Montana

Financial support from the CHS Seeds for Stewardship matching grants program helps local first responders handle grain-engulfment rescues.
Jan 16, 2024

Grain bin entrapments are one of the biggest safety concerns for farmers, their employees and their families. That’s why the CHS Seeds for Stewardship program has provided nearly $140,000 for grain bin safety equipment and training since 2020. It’s also why CHS supports Grain Bin Safety Week, organized by Nationwide, which has provided rescue tubes and grain entrapment training to 332 fire departments across 32 states, leading to nine successful life saves since 2014.

On Jan. 2, 2024, one community learned the true value of the engulfment training and equipment their fire department received through a grant from CHS Seeds for Stewardship. CHS Farmers Elevator, based in Circle, Mont.; and Ag Partners LLC, based in Wolf Point, Mont., applied for the grant on behalf of the local fire department.

Firefighters from the Wolf Point Volunteer Fire Department responded to an entrapment involving a man engulfed up to his waist in dried peas. They were able to use the rescue training and coffer dam they received last year to extract the man quickly and safely.

A coffer dam consists of four curved metal panels, which are placed on end in a circle around a person who has become engulfed in grain. This forms a metal tube around the victim so rescuers can insert an auger to extract grain until the engulfed person can move and be pulled to safety.

“We couldn’t be more thankful for the tools and support we receive every day from our community,” says Wolf Point Fire Chief Clint Bushman. “One small training changed the lives of a fireman and survivor today.”

Seeds for Stewardship cooperative matching grants support community projects related to safety, ag leader development and community enrichment. The program matches up to $10,000 for member cooperatives and $7,500 for CHS ag retail locations to support projects in local communities. Applications will be accepted through Feb. 15, 2024. Learn about eligibility for Seeds for Stewardship matching grants and how to apply.

“CHS is proud to support the life-saving work of fire departments that support farmers in rural America,” says David Miller, senior director of operations, CHS Farmers Elevator. “We recognize the importance of providing fire departments with the equipment and training needed to perform a grain-engulfment rescue and will continue to do so through our Seeds for Stewardship program.”

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