Providing Life-Saving Equipment
While farming is a popular occupation in Minnesota, it’s also a risky one. A farmer is 800 percent more likely to die while working than people in other jobs, according to the Minnesota Department of Agriculture. In a grain bin, for example, it takes less than 20 seconds for an adult to become fully engulfed.
From grain bins to equipment, safety hazards are ubiquitous on a farm. Which is why keeping farmers and employees safe is a core value at CHS, America’s largest farmer-owned cooperative.
Through its CHS Seeds for Stewardship matching grant program, CHS helps cooperatives extend their impact toward local community projects. A recent partnership with the Faribault Community Co-op and the Faribault Fire Department helped the department get lifesaving equipment for confinement space rescues, such as grain bin rescues.
“The Fairbault Fire Department serves three and a half townships and about 30,000 people, many who lives on farms. We’re engrained in the farm community,” says Dusty Dienst, Faribault Fire Department chief.
The department regularly conducts trainings to prepare for ag-related incidents, but found they were often short on equipment, forcing firefighters to share gear, which slows response time. “Everything we do involves equipment and a big part of our training is putting equipment on correctly and using tools the right way. Confined space rescues require harnesses and these are supposed to be fit for a person, so they can be put on quickly. But we only had 10 harnesses for 35 firefighters,” says Dienst.
Through the $10,000 grant from CHS and the Faribault Community Co-op, the fire department was able to fill the gap with universal harnesses for on-call teams. “Having this gear allows us to be more nimble in a rescue and reach victims faster,” says Dienst. “Every second counts and being able to easily put on a harness is vital. Those seconds can save lives.”