City of Pierre News

Posted on: June 12, 2015

Fire Department Receives New Rescue Equipment

Fire Department Receives New Rescue Equipment

PIERRE, S.D. –Thanks to a donation from Farm Credit Services of America, the Pierre Volunteer Fire Department has a new tool for saving lives. It’s called a cofferdam, and it’s used to rescue people from grain bin accidents.

“When a person is buried in grain, there is immense pressure put on the body cavity that can cause slow suffocation,” said Fire Chief Ian Paul. “The cofferdam basically provides a shield around the trapped person, alleviating that pressure and allowing the person to properly inhale and exhale.”

The Pierre Volunteer Fire Department has already had an opportunity to conduct an exercise with the new equipment. Fifteen members of the Department’s rescue squad tried the cofferdam out during a recent training at CHS in Pierre. CHS provided a grain truck and grain to simulate an accident.

Ron Bren, Fire Rescue Captain, said the training was excellent.

“When a person is buried in grain, every time the grain is moved or the person moves, the weight of the grain shifts. This causes the pressure points to shift. The training taught us how to mitigate grain movement, alleviate the pressure and safely remove the victim,” said Bren.

Paul said that the Pierre Fire Department has not been involved with any grain rescues in recent history.

“Pierre and our surrounding community have a very active ag industry. While we certainly hope we never need to use the cofferdam, we’re very grateful to have this life-saving device in our toolbox and grateful to Farm Credit for providing it,” said Paul.

The cofferdam and accessories are valued at approximately $3000.

The Pierre Volunteer Fire Department has 60 members who respond to approximately 175 fire and rescue calls each year.

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