The tough harvest conditions on the prairies last fall were unforeseen when planning began for Canada’s first grain entrapment awareness and training program, but the launch of “BeGrainSafe” has turned out to be incredibly timely.
“Out-of-condition grain is a major contributor to grain entrapment situations, as well as other types of injuries and illness. We know Western Canadian farmers had a terrible harvest last year, and so we want to draw attention to the fact there’s great potential for things going wrong,” explains Glen Blahey of the Canadian Agricultural Safety Association (CASA) in the interview below, filmed at FarmTech in Edmonton earlier this month.
Last summer, we asked RealAg readers and listeners to join us in raising funds for “BeGrainSafe.”
Financing for the initial BeGrainSafe demonstration trailer and program is now in place, explains Blahey. “We have reached our budget goal for our first trailer, and we should be able to cover the operating costs of that trailer with the commitments of our corporate sponsors.”
CN Rail is the latest corporate partner in the project, having presented a $50,000 cheque to CASA at FarmTech.
Assembly of CASA’s demonstration unit is not yet complete, so they borrowed a trailer from Iowa to hold demonstrations at Ag Days in Brandon and FarmTech in Edmonton this winter.
As Blahey explains, their trailer will have three primary functions:
- Raising awareness about grain entrapment risk and engaging people in conversations through demonstrations at ag trade shows and events;
- Training as many rural fire departments and emergency responders as possible;
- Training employees at farms and facilities with large volumes of grain storage.
Since many farms are more than 15 minutes away from emergency services, Blahey says they’re aiming to equip farms with knowledge and emergency plans to cover until trained professionals arrive.
CASA has also been getting enquiries about bringing the BeGrainSafe program to Ontario and Quebec. For logistical reasons, Blahey says it’s unlikely the first trailer will travel east, but they are looking at plans for a second trailer in central and eastern Canada.