Bin Rescue Project receives donation from Perdue

Published 1:32 pm Wednesday, July 6, 2016

From Swan Quarter Volunteer Fire Department

The Swan Quarter Volunteer Fire Department has received a boost from Perdue AgriBusiness in the department’s quest to provide special life-saving, agricultural grain bin entrapment rescue service to Hyde County and surrounding communities should the need ever arise.

The SQVFD’s Ag & Grain Bin Rescue Project has been in the works since early 2015. The department received news in May that it had been awarded a North Carolina Department of Insurance 2016 Volunteer Fire Department Fund grant, which will allow them to purchase much of the project’s needed equipment.

That good news was quickly followed up with a generous donation from Perdue AgriBusiness of an Eastland Fabrication LLC grain bin rescue tube, also known as a cofferdam. The “Great Wall of Rescue” tubes are made in the United States and are adaptable to a multitude of grain-entrapment rescue scenarios. With the acquisition of the actual rescue tube, the SQVFD will now focus on getting the rest of the needed rescue equipment and provide training to help first responders perform a safe entrapment rescue.

Fire Chief Jeffrey Stotesberry explained, “Stored grain bins may seem stable, but can shift unexpectedly, putting a person in danger of suffocation. Tubes like these are vital to saving lives in a situation where every second counts. We have already used the tube during training exercises.”

“Perdue AgriBusiness had the tube delivered right to our door,” Stotesberry said. “We certainly are grateful for their donation towards making this project a reality. We know that without their generosity, and the support of others in the communities we serve, we would not be successful.”

In business since 1920, Perdue Farms is a family-owned and family-operated company based in Salisbury, Maryland, and has numerous operations in eastern North Carolina, including Perdue AgriBusiness grain-receiving facilities in Belhaven and Pantego.

“At Perdue AgriBusiness, we know that getting trapped in grain bins is a very real risk for farmers, but one that doesn’t have to end in disaster,” said Austin Hodges, Hyde County native and grain facility manager. “We are pleased to provide the life-saving equipment to the Swan Quarter Volunteer Fire Department and give back to the community.”

On July 9, Perdue AgriBusiness in Belhaven will host volunteer firefighters and first responders from the region for a day of proactive grain bin rescue training, led by Cary Fleming, the regional safety manager for Perdue. Perdue periodically holds such training, free of charge, to create an awareness of the hazards of entering a grain bin and to discourage untrained personnel from entering on their own to rescue someone trapped.

For mobility purposes, they have built a grain bin, filled it with grain and placed it onto a trailer. This serves as a hands-on classroom with opportunities for varied techniques and outcomes to be realized. Using proper equipment, trainees are taken step by step through a staged situation, learning the proper methods of extraction and pitfalls of doing it incorrectly. The SQVFD will use its new rescue tube so personnel can become accustomed with it.

The Swan Quarter VFD was established in 1971 by a group of citizens who were concerned with providing an organized fire safety presence for the community. Since that time, the area of operation has expanded, as has the level of services it provides. Today, SQVFD operates with 25 unpaid volunteers who provide not only fire incident response, but also first responder service for medical emergencies. Volunteers also work with Hyde County Schools to provide fire safety awareness to the youth of the community.