Local first responders with West Plains Fire Department recently were awarded a grain rescue tube and specialized training from Nationwide, Wiley Insurance Agency, and Valley Insurance Agency Alliance (VIAA) through Nationwide’s Grain Bin Safety advocacy campaign. The resources will be used to help protect against grain entrapments, which result in dozens of deaths across rural America.
Every year, thousands of farmers and commercial grain handlers risk their lives by entering grain bins to remove clumped or rotted grain. As rural communities have come to know all too well, the risks of entering grain bins continue to be overlooked.
“It only takes seconds, or a simple mistake, for an adult to sink in the quicksand-like flow of grain and become fully entrapped or engulfed,” said Brad Liggett, Nationwide’s president of Agribusiness. “Adding to the risk is a lack of rescue equipment available to local fire departments and emergency responders who are called for help when a worker becomes trapped.”
To help lead the fight against these accidents impacting agricultural communities, the country’s leading insurer of farms and ranches1, Nationwide, began its Grain Bin Safety campaign in 2014 to bring awareness to the hazards of entering grain structures and to equip fire departments with the resources needed to respond effectively.
West Plains Fire Department is one of 58 fire departments to receive these resources through the 2022 campaign, and one of 265 fire departments to benefit from the program since its inception. The grain rescue tube will be stored at the West Plains Fire Department for use by all regional fire departments within a 30-mile radius.
Wiley Insurance Agency owner Traci Wiley was appointed to the Missouri Fire and Safety Commission by Governor Mike Parson in 2019. She is the first woman to serve on the commission. Wiley’s parents were both rural firefighters, and she remains a strong advocate for rescue and first responders. She shared that her mom, Ella Stephens, sustained life-threatening injuries while fighting a grass fire in 1999. “Firefighters put their lives on the line for us every day, so this initiative is the least we can do so they can safely protect our communities.”
The grain rescue tube delivery and training were conducted by the National Education Center for Agricultural Safety (NECAS) and included simulations of entrapments and rescues using a state-of-the-art grain entrapment simulator, which is loaded on a trailer and able to hold about 100 bushels of grain.
Since 2014, at least five fire departments have put the tubes and training to use to save the lives of workers trapped in grain bins.
About Wiley Insurance Agency
Wiley Insurance Agency is a full-service agency founded in 2014 that specializes in personal, commercial, farm, and life insurance. The company is owned by lifelong West Plains’ resident Traci Wiley, who has nearly 30 years of insurance industry experience in the community. The office is located at 3737 N. Hwy. 63 in West Plains, Mo. For more information, call (417) 256-3372.
About Valley Insurance Agency Alliance
Founded in 2006, Valley Insurance Agency Alliance (VIAA) is a cohesive family of nearly 150 independent insurance agencies in Missouri and Illinois. VIAA generates more than $500 million in written premium and is the regional founding member for the Strategic Insurance Agency Alliance (SIAA), a $10 billion national alliance. The company is headquartered at 6825 Clayton Ave. For more information, call (314) 725-1414.
Nationwide, a Fortune 100 company based in Columbus, Ohio, is one of the largest and strongest diversified insurance and financial services organizations in the United States. Nationwide is rated A+ by both A.M. Best and Standard & Poor’s. An industry leader in driving customer-focused innovation, Nationwide provides a full range of insurance and financial services products including auto, business, homeowners, farm and life insurance; public and private sector retirement plans, annuities and mutual funds; excess & surplus, specialty and surety; pet, motorcycle and boat insurance.