The Maryville Fire Department was recently able to purchase several pieces of equipment to aid in rescuing individuals trapped inside of grain bins or other confined spaces.

In December, the department was awarded $5,761.81 from the Gladys Rickard Charitable Trust to purchase the much-needed supplies.

They were able to get a rescue wall, called a cofferdam, which are made of light-weight aluminum planks that can be connected together to create a tube-like enclosure that would surround a trapped individual. A rescue auger, which runs with the use of a cordless drill, was also purchased. The auger sucks out the grain from around the person, allowing rescue personnel to reach them.

Maryville Fire Chief Phil Rickabaugh stands with the new grain bin rescue equipment that the department recently acquired.

Other equipment purchased included saws designed to cut through metal, extra blades, drills and extra battery packs. They also purchased a four-gas monitor, allowing first responder crews to check the quality of air in an enclosure before entering. The device measures carbon monoxide, hydrogen sulfide, lower explosive limits and oxygen levels. By checking the air quality before entering, crews can take precautions to ensure their safety.

In the past, the department had created homemade grain-bin rescue equipment out of plywood, which is heavier and cumbersome. The department plans to keep the homemade equipment to use as a backup set if needed. They also already own rescue ropes and harnesses.

“This is a big step for us to be able to purchase this,” Maryville Fire Chief Phil Rickabaugh stated.

Currently, there is a rope rescue technician class being taught in the Northwest Missouri district, which includes 10 firefighters from Maryville as well as others from the county responder squads.

The Maryville Fire Department will work with country responders, taking the equipment to any mission as needed.

“We are pretty centrally located here and there is usually always someone here that can respond quickly,” Rickabaugh said.

Every firefighter in Maryville will be trained to use the equipment and there will be a Northwest Missouri regional training for anyone in the county affiliated with a first responder agency who is interested in learning confined space rescue techniques.

“We want to be prepared. You see more and more grain bins go up all over the countryside and they are huge. Our hope is that we never have to use them except for training purposes,” Rickabaugh said.