The Flasher Rural Fire Department recently received potentially life-saving grain bin rescue equipment and training through a donation from Farm Credit Services of Mandan.

Farm Credit Services donated a 10-panel system and manufactured by Minnesota-based Outstate Data. The equipment is designed by rescuers specifically for grain bin entrapments. “We have had 16 successful saves with this equipment,” said Dale Ekdahl, owner and trainer for Outstate Data.

Nearly 30 volunteer firefighters from Flasher, Mandan and Carson attended Ekdahls training session at the Farmers Union Elevator in Flasher. “Our department has been wanted one of these rescue kits for a while and we really appreciate Farm Credit stepping up to help,” said . Shannon Gerhardt, Flasher Fire Chief. “The hand’s on training that comes with the system was a bonus,” he added.

Even as the overall rate of serious injuries and fatalities on farm has fallen, the number of grain bin entrapments remains steady, in part because the country’s high grain production and volatile markets has led to more bins that require more workers and movement of grain.

Flasher and Goodrich are the two rural volunteer fire departments to receive grain bin rescue equipment and training this year as part of Farm Credit Services of Mandan’s support for rural communities.“We were happy to support this request as they protect our farmers and ranchers in the rural areas we serve,” said Pearl Ereth, loan officer for Farm Credit Services Mandan Branch. “Watching them rescue ‘volunteered’ victims was interesting.” She added.