WINNIPEG, MANITOBA, CANADA —The Canadian Agricultural Safety Association (CASA) is expanding its firefighter training and farm show participation of its BeGrainSafe program into Manitoba and Quebec.

There are also plans to return to eastern Ontario this year and back to the Prairies in 2020. The program also will visit at least two farm shows this year.

The program includes a mobile trailer and demonstration unit that uses pop-up banners, interactive physical displays and digital games to raise awareness about the dangers of flowing grain and grain entrapment.

The mobile unit also features a flowing grain demonstration to simulate the rescue of a mannequin or actual person in a controlled manner using a GSI Res-Q-Tube. That device is a 60-inch tall, 27-pound shield constructed to fit around the victim with three additional 30-inch diameter shields to stop the flow of the grain toward the person. It is constructed of lightweight aluminum to be easy for rescuers to transport and maneuver.          

BeGrainSafe was developed following seven grain entrapment fatalities in the Prairies in 2015.

“We were noticing more incidents happening with the volume of grain flows increasing due to advances in technology and production,” said Liz Ellis Clark, CASA Development Specialist.  

In 2018, CASA launched a firefighter training program. A typical 2-day program includes one day of in-class theory and a second day of practical training, which includes simulated rescues of actual firefighter “victims.”

In addition to the training, fire departments are encouraged to host a community awareness event for farmers and other ag industry participants.

The program has reached approximately 307,000 members of the public at various awareness demonstrations and has trained over 400 firefighters from 15 departments from Albert to Ontario.

Nearly a dozen Res-Q-Tubes and augers were donated by sponsors to fire departments during the year.

“We’re very appreciative for the collaboration and assistance we received from towns, fire departments and provincial agricultural health and safety specialists in spreading grain safety awareness to rural communities,” Clark said.