Farmer Donates Equipment for Grain Bin Rescues

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SOUTH BELOIT (WIFR) -- Roger Bates nearly lost his life back in January after falling into his grain bin and being buried for hours.

Now, the farmer doesn't want to see anyone stuck in the same situation.

The five hour holdup was due to the fact that the nearest grain bin rescue equipment was over 50 miles away. but now, nobody will have to wait that long again.

The Rockton farmer bought two sets of that rescue equipment that saved him.

One will go to the Rockton Fire Department and the other is for the Mutual Aid Box Alarm System truck, which is used by rescue crews around the Stateline

"Accidents are accidents, but with farmers storing more grain on their farms, there could be more on-the-farm accidents," said Bates. "That's why I want the local fire department to have the best equipment the could."

Crews from Rockton, Rockford, Cherry Valley and Boone County all got a chance to train with the brand new equipment Saturday morning.

The equipment, called The Great Wall, will give local farmers a better chance of survival.

"If you don't have the necessary tools to make that efficient and safe rescue, it's very disappointing," said Rockton Fire Chief Kirk Wilson. "So if an incident like this occurs again, we have those tools readily available to us."

While working with the tool for the first time, some firefighters found it as a major upgrade from the options they have seen in the past.

During a rescue, crews wedge the walls into the grain forming a barrier between the victim and pressure of the grain.

"This is one of the better products I've seen," said Rockford firefighter Slade Berry. "It'll make it easier to encompass somebody in it so we can get them out of the corn."

While Bates hopes not to see anyone make the same mistake he did, he now knows that if they do, they will be in much better hands.

"I have a son that's farming with me and I have grandsons that will be farming with me and I'm trying to help everybody else that can be in this situation," said Bates.

The Great Wall of Rescue out of Lanark, IL creates the rescue system and sells them at a discount to fire departments around the country.

Bates bought and donated the pieces for $1,800 each.

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