Farm extrication class prepares EMS for ag-related accidents

Published 4:46 pm Tuesday, October 29, 2019

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Several fire and rescue agencies from around the area participated in a farm extrication class over the weekend led by EMS agent and Decatur County Fire and Rescue officer, Jamie Earp.

Earp had been looking for grant-based opportunities in the area, when he came across GEMSA (Georgia EMS Association), who receives funding through super-speeder tickets. GEMSA then takes those funds and reintroduces them into the community through a series of classes that they think would benefit a specific area.

One of the classes introduced was the farm extrication class. Earp said Chief Charlie McCann was really the driving factor behind getting this class. McCann had experience with the program years ago and felt like it was something positive to bring to the community and would really serve a heavy agriculture community. However, the training was scarce and difficult to find.

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“We really fought for years to get this type of training in this area,” Earp said.

Earp was one of the very few who had received training, and decided to return to get certified so he could teach it to others.

“Hundreds have never received this training,” Earp said.

Due to the fact so many neighboring counties could use this education, Decatur County Fire and Rescue, along with Grady County Fire and Rescue, City of Cairo Fire and Rescue, Miller County Fire and Rescue and other agencies turned out for the class.

Prior to beginning the class, Earp explained that farming extrication was different than traditional vehicle extrication. It was a lot more of finesse than muscle, he told them.

Earp has only had one recent farming extrication; a farming tractor operator had a diabetic emergency and passed out while driving a sprayer. The sprayer then drove into an irrigation pivot and Earp, along with other volunteers had to figure out how to get the driver out of the cab, because the irrigation pivot blocked the only exit. Earp eventually cut the glass out of the sprayer and was able to put the driver on a backboard and get him out.

It’s not something we see often, Earp said.

“It’s high risk, low frequency,” he said. “It offers a lot of threat to the providers and caretakers because we are just not accustomed to dealing with that type of emergency.”

In order to help get the fire and rescue units accustomed to dealing with this, Earp did several different drills with the class. In one scenario, the mannequin was tangled around the PTO shaft, so the class had to learn to disassemble the equipment and spin the equipment backwards, allowing the mannequin to get out.

The different drills would not have been possible without the equipment provided.

Earp is thankful to all the businesses, who helped make this possible. During the first day of lecture, John Deere allowed the class to tour their facility and touch the equipment.

The second day Bridges Equipment loaned the class new equipment for them to touch and train on.

“This is so pivotal in the success of the class,” Earp said. “This really strengthened our relationship between us and the community… we now have a relationship with someone who is trained on how to disassemble this equipment and that we can call on in an emergency.”

Earp said everyone in attendance was truly so appreciative and has requested to have another course on this, which GEMSA has agreed to.

“If we set any objectives for this weekend, we accomplished them,” Earp finished.