- Associated Press - Tuesday, May 6, 2014

MEDIAPOLIS, Iowa (AP) - Members of several volunteer fire departments in southeast Iowa learned how to use new equipment that could help them rescue someone trapped in a grain bin.

Firefighters from Mediapolis, Danville and Yarmouth gathered Monday for training on the equipment, which consists of a 10-panel tube system that allows rescuers to reach someone trapped in a bin, according to the Burlington Hawk Eye (https://bit.ly/1j8cd0j ).

The curved panels can be locked together, creating a tube that can be positioned around a trapped person and enable grain to be scooped away.

At the training in Mediapolis, firefighters replicated bin conditions in a grain truck.

Farm Credit Services of America, an Omaha, Nebraska-based insurance and finance company that works with farmers in several Midwest states, paid for the equipment.

Mediapolis Assistant Fire Chief Any Kerr said he appreciate the donation.

The training came hours after 73-year-old Leon Madey died after falling into a grain bin in DeKalb County, Illinois.

Kerr said the death put the training into perspective.

“We are an agricultural community with two large grain elevators,” Kerr said. “I think it’s beneficial.”

Amy Hasenclever, an insurance specialist at Farm Credit Services of America, said the company chose Mediapolis for the donation because it wants the devices available in many communities. Burlington and Mount Pleasant already have rescue tubes, which cost $3,000 to $5,000.

“We wanted to spread out who got the tubes, because we don’t want one too far away from an area that needs them,” Hasenclever said.

Kerr said his department had begun raising money to buy the equipment when it learned of the donation.

“I was kind of shocked we were getting it for free,” he said. “It takes a financial burden off us.”

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Information from: The Hawk Eye, https://www.thehawkeye.com

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