Generous donation helps educate about farm safety

By WEEK Producer

November 2, 2013 Updated Nov 4, 2013 at 1:01 PM CDT

PEORIA, Ill. -- Grain-bin deaths in rural communities continue to grow, but a training symposium held Saturday aims to decrease such accidents by educating medical professionals on what to do.

Central Illinois medics felt the pressure of thousands of pieces of grain cover their body. It is the same situation which has killed seven farmers in the region by suffocation in this year's harvest alone.

"It's becoming more and more of a problem with these grain entrapments. The problem also is because we are building bigger bins and our facilities are getting bigger," said Mark Baker, State Line Farm Rescue Coordinator. "Farms are handling more grain so these engulfments and entrapments are becoming more obvious."

That is why Peoria Area Emergency Medical Services made sure to include simulated grain-bin rescues at its annual Symposium.

Henry Ambulance Service EMT Deborah Parrish has experienced a grain-bin entrapment call first hand.

"We had a gentleman that fell through a grain truck, so we've had some situations similar," said Deborah Parrish, Henry Ambulance Service EMT. "I wish at that time we had something like this and knew this, but we didn't at that time."

Fortunately, the entrapped victim survived the incident.

Parrish said timing is key when rescuing someone from this type situation.

State Line Farm Rescues conducted the training, which had various EMT's practice rescuing individuals from a real-life grain-bin.

This training, along with various other medical service training, was made possible by the generous donation of a farming couple, who just passed away.

"We are a farming family and they will be smiling in heaven I am sure with the angels," said Marcia O'Neal, Peoria resident. "We are promoting safety and maybe we will save a life today."

Marcia O'Neal's parents, Paul and Edith Sancken, left a gift in their will to go toward educating the community.

O'Neal hopes the donation will help decrease the number of deaths caused by grain-bins with more and more medics diving feet first into hands-on training.

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