By DOUG GRAVES
COLUMBUS, Ohio — Traditionally, organizing a grain storage rescue training and education program for firefighters and other emergency first responders was no easy task.
But thanks to a group of five Ohio State University seniors in the Department of Food, Agricultural and Biological Engineering, grain rescue training has become much more feasible.
Over the past eight months, the students and their advisors have designed and built a Community Agriculture Rescue Trailer, or CART, that includes all the equipment needed for grain storage rescue training in one mobile unit. The Grain CART was first unveiled at last month’s Farm Science Review during a series of daily grain rescue demonstrations.
“To have a mobile training unit is much better than what we’ve had in the past,” said Dr. Dee Jepsen, OSU extension state agricultural safety and health specialist. “We can just pull it in, conduct training for a weekend or even a day, then move it out and be done. It’s quite a project, and we’re so excited about it.”
The Grain CART was designed in partnership with the Ohio Fire Academy and with contributions from a number of agribusinesses. Mounted on a 40-foot flatbed trailer, it includes a grain bin, grain leg, gravity wagon and other training essentials.
OSU students who made the CART a reality were Jonathan Francis, Steven Bostelman, Dustin Elder, Kyle Lahna and Michael Damschroder. These students, along with five academic advisors, eight industry advisors and 17 industry sponsors, worked diligently for nearly a year to have it completed this fall.
“I offered this project to many others as a senior design project, and I didn’t get anyone to take on this project the past three years because this one didn’t have the appeal that other projects did,” Jepsen said. “But this one caught the idea of these five, and all are farm boys.
“They took it upon themselves with no template to work from. They did it all from scratch and the only money we have in this thing is their time.”
The five began their work by contacting industry sponsors and asking a multitude of questions. Those same sponsors came through with the needed tools and hardware to construct the CART.
All of the items (including gravity wagons, grain bins, grain legs, electric panels and more) were fabricated. In the end, the CART allows for the demonstration of grain engulfment, moving entanglements and other grain-related emergencies.
“They took this project seriously and they can be proud of their accomplishment,” Jepsen said. “The boys want to do a lot of educating with the CART and are now hoping to get contributions to help maintain it.”
The CART will now be used with the Ohio Fire Academy’s agricultural rescue direct delivery training modules, as well as extension’s grain bin rescue outreach education and awareness program.
“Communities can schedule to use the Grain CART for grain storage entrapment and entanglement rescue training directly through the Ohio Fire Academy,” Jepsen said. “Rescue personnel often request specific training in these unconventional rescue situations, where they have limited experience and limited knowledge of the agricultural conditions that exist.”
Anyone interested in requesting use of the CART can call Jepsen at 614-292-6008 or email firstname.lastname@example.org