Companies give $3,755 to fire department

By Brooke Haas
McPherson Sentinel – May 25, 2018

Photo by Nichole Gouldie

As McPherson County a strong rural community, the McPherson Fire Department also serves area farmers, ranchers and agribusinesses.

Deputy Chief T.J. Wyssmann, of the fire department, said in the 16 years he has worked there they have conducted three grain bin rescues.

“This type of technical rescue takes specialized equipment, which is called a cofferdam — or a grain bin rescue tube. Once we get the gear around a victim… inside of the grain bin, we then put an auger inside the bin and remove the product,” Wyssmann said.

This type of equipment can cost around $3,500 Wyssmann said.

Thanks to Mid Kansas Coop, of Moundridge, and PrarieLand Partners in McPherson, the department will be able to purchase the equipment. The two companies gave $1,887 each, which came out to $3,755 total.

“It’s tremendous not just for the city of McPherson, but also for our contracted areas and the county. That’s a big deal for us. For us to go on these types of rescues county-wide or even into other counties — it’s just tremendous. To have that type of support and for those companies to see the need and reach out to us — it’s an awesome thing to see,” Wyssmann said.

“Before being able to purchase this equipment, we had a makeshift cofferdam. We built our own with plywood. We called fire departments that were 30 minutes away to see if they could bring their equipment.”

“Both MKC and PrairieLand Partners work with farmer customers across the area. This is about providing lifesaving tools for the benefit of farmers, our customers,” said Nichole Gouldie, communications and brand manager at MKC.

“We feel like we have a responsibility to support or local community and this is a product that has a direct impact on our customers,” said Kelly Pitts, store manager at PrairieLand Partners.

Because of the high cost of the equipment, Wyssmann said the department made do with what they had because they didn’t want to tax the community even more.

“This would not be possible without those businesses donating that money.

This would not have been possible to purchase without having to increase taxes and do things of that nature — it makes it really easy for us to do our jobs when these businesses participate,” Wyssmann said.

Grain bin rescues can be extremely dangerous for both the victim and the rescuer. When someone falls into a grain bin, the grain quickly surrounds the victim and can suffocate them, which causes them to lose blood flow.

“When people fall into grain bins, they don’t just fall straight down into the grain, usually their legs are in an awkward position, which is what we found in a previous rescue. The cofferdam helps keep the pressure off the victim so they can breathe, which is the most important thing… We want to be able to introduce blood flow slowly back into the body.”

“This donation allows the local fire department to stretch their budget and have equipment available to provide quick responses in the case of a grain entrapment. We hope the equipment is never needed, but in the case that it is, we feel much better knowing local emergency personnel have the equipment to help in a rescue,” Gouldie said.


Posted by Gwen Dorr Romine, KSFFA Webmaster
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