KFRTI training prepares rural fire department for quick rescue

KFRTI's simulated grain bin and grain-engulfment rescue training helped prepare the Netawaka Rural Fire District for a swift rescue.

Firefighters train on KFRTI's Grain Engulfment Rescue Trainer

Hands-on training provided by a cooperative effort and built with funding from Kansas Fire & Rescue Training Institute (KFRTI), Kansas Grain & Feed Association (KGFA), KFSA Insurance Agency (KFSA), and the Kansas Cooperative Council (KCC), recently proved vital for a quick, efficient grain entrapment rescue by the Netawaka Rural Fire District.

A few years ago, the Netawaka Rural Fire Department was able to go through training and purchase grain rescue equipment through a grant from Frontier Farm Credit. “You hear about this type of grain accident happening, but the equipment and training is something you hope that you never have to use,” said Jon Banaka, Netawaka Rule Fire Department Training Lieutenant. “Without the training to learn how to use the equipment, it wouldn’t have been effective.”

Members of KFRTI provide the simulated grain bin and grain-engulfment rescue training using real equipment and preparing for real-life situations in a controlled environment across the state of Kansas. This specific training is typically sponsored by fire departments and is free to attend. In most instances attendees include a mixture of fire department members, local grain COOP employees and local farmers.

During the Sept. 26, 2021, rescue, properly trained personnel – who received the KFRTI training and assistance from the Holton Fire, Whiting Fire, Jackson County EMS, the Jackson County Sheriff’s Office, as well as a few local farmers – used a grain rescue auger and Great Wall Tube to remove the grain from around the subject so they could climb out of the grain pit on their own.

“A huge part in this is to be prepared,” said Banaka. “Since this accident, almost every fire department in Jackson County has now purchased the grain rescue equipment.”

Ben Green, technical rescue program coordinator, said, “The hands-on training allows for quicker and more efficient learning, which can be applied in a rescue situation. At KFRTI, we’re dedicated to helping the state’s firefighters prepare to respond to these kinds of emergencies, keeping Kansans safe.”

About the Kansas Fire & Rescue Training Institute

The Kansas Fire & Rescue Training Institute (KFRTI) was created in 1949 by Kansas law to provide training for the Kansas fire service. KFRTI is a dynamic organization providing training services through a "mobile fire academy" concept. This concept is designed to accommodate local needs through training delivered anytime, anyplace or anywhere in Kansas. KFRTI is a unit of University of Kansas Lifelong & Professional Education.

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