AYERSVILLE — Highland Township firefighters will be acquiring new grain bin rescue equipment in coming weeks, thanks to some generosity and a donation.

The news is coincidental with a tragedy at the Anderson’s in Toledo on Friday where two men were killed in a grain bin incident. Highland Township was on its way to an equipment upgrade, according to Capt. Brian Berry, before that happened.

“It was in the works,” he said.

The department had planned to use a donation from the Ayersville Future Farmers of America to buy a new grain rescue tube and auger with a drill. However, Berry said he learned late Monday afternoon that the manufacturer will provide the equipment at no charge through the firm Van Wert Fire Equipment.

The FFA donation, he explained, will be used to purchase rope for the rescue equipment.

Berry noted that some area departments have rescue tubes, but not the other equipment.

“Certainly this helps in the rescue of a victim, however, with the tube alone, departments rely on the victim to assist in removing buckets of grain from inside the tube as a part of the rescue, because you can’t fit two people in a tube,” he stated. “But what if the victim can’t assist with the rescue? After all, the victim is trapped and possibly unconscious or about to be due to the crushing power of the grain around your chest.”

The auger and drill equipment, he said, addresses this as it “works very quick and very efficient.”

“The auger is slim enough to be slid next to the victim and then used to remove the grain from around the victim in a manner that is exponentially faster than using buckets to scoop out the trapped person,” Berry added. “This auger can be operated by one person, while allowing other rescuers to attend to the situation.”

He expects the Highland Township Fire Department — a volunteer force — to take possession of the equipment within the next couple weeks. Thereafter, it will be available for use by other area departments.

“(This) will give us a lot of extra equipment,” he said. “Our tube is new and lightweight. We would make it available to any departments that ask.”

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