GREENVILLE, S.C. (WSPA) – First responders train for almost anything, even dangerous situations that are so rare, most will never encounter them in a full career.
“From water, confined space, high angle, low angle, major structural collapse stuff like that,” Robert Trusty, a member of the Task Force 6 training committee, said.
It’s a just-in-case business. And while they don’t get many calls to a farm, the more than 60 Upstate police officers, fire fighters and EMS responders of Task Force 6 are ready for that call. They’re the rescuers who respond to the most claustrophobic situations.
They trained to rescue someone trapped in a bin of grain on Jason Davis’ farm. He grows corn and soybeans on about 500 acres, and it’s stored in tall bins. The bins pose a dangerous challenge in an emergency. If someone gets trapped inside, it can turn deadly fast.
“Same concept as quicksand, and now you’re trapped in hundreds of pounds of grain. You could be completely submerged in it,” Davis said.
“Somebody’s life is hanging in the balance, so every decision you make it’s a stressful situation because it’s not something you deal with every day,” Trusty said.
The team learned to use new equipment, some of it on loan from Clemson University. They tested it in truck beds before climbing to the top of the bin, using a rope to climb down and preparing for a rescue.
“It’s the first time I’ve ever been in a grain bin, obviously,” Jeremy King, a firefighter at South Greenville Fire District, said. “We went up and we had to use rope to access the high point, disperse our weight and make it over to the victim.”
The grain itself is a dangerous trap. The dust it creates is a potential explosive and is considered a hazardous material. At one point, it took all 63 responders to execute the rescue.
While they hope they never need to execute one of these rescues, they’re prepared just-in-case.