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The Leavenworth Times - Leavenworth, KS
  • Firefighters practice grain rescues

  • This past weekend, some local firefighters found themselves being buried in grain.
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  • This past weekend, some local firefighters found themselves being buried in grain.
    It was part of grain engulfment rescue course that was offered at the headquarters of the Leavenworth Fire Department.
    Assistant Fire Chief Mike Lingenfelser, who also served as one of the instructors for the class, said some firefighters purposely were buried up to about their waists in grain Saturday morning.
    "At that point, they are actually trapped," he said.
    The firefighters were rescued by fellow students in the class.
    The course was offered through the Kansas Fire & Rescue Training Institute, which is a University of Kansas continuing education program.
    Lingenfelser said more than 50 people went through at least of a portion of the class last week. Most of them were members of the Leavenworth Fire Department, but a couple of members of the Kickapoo Township Fire Department participated.
    There also were three representatives of the company ADM in the class. ADM loaned the use of grain for the training.
    The course included classroom instruction as well as training with a special trailer.
    Lingenfelser said the trailer was used to practice rescuing people from grain bins and what are known as grain hoppers.
    "It's real live training," he said.
    Even though the Leavenworth doesn't have grain elevators that are in operation, Lingenfelser said there are facilities in the city in which this type of rescue could be required. He said the training techniques can be used for more than grain engulfment situations.
    "It can be sand or gravel or sawdust," he said.
    The classroom portion of the eight-hour course was offered during the week. Lingenfelser the same instruction was offered three nights in row in order to accommodate firefighters working different shifts.
    The training with the trailer was Saturday morning. Students in the class also practiced using tools to cut the type of metal used in the construction of grain bins. Lingenfelser said the metal is tougher to cut "than a regular sheet of tin."
    The assistant chief said people who took the course seemed impressed by how realistic the training was.
    He said last week's class marked the first time the course was offered in Leavenworth County.
    "It's a real sought after class," he said.
    Lingenfelser said the Kansas Fire and Rescue Training Institute has had the training trailer since last year. The training was provided in partnership with state farmers and grain industry associations.
    Lingenfelser said the class was offered in Leavenworth free of charge. He said some members of the Leavenworth Fire Department previously took the class at another location, and they provided assistance Saturday.

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