Glenn Pribbenow (third from left), director of the Kansas Fire & Rescue Training Institute, accepts a $90,000 gift from representatives of the Kansas grain industry to purchase equipment for grain engulfment rescue training.
LAWRENCE — The Kansas Fire & Rescue Training Institute, part of KU Continuing Education, has received a $90,000 gift from a trio of Kansas grain industry organizations to acquire special rescue training equipment to train Kansas firefighters and grain handlers for engulfment rescue situations.
The $90,000 donation comes from the Kansas Grain and Feed Association, the Kansas Cooperative Council, and the Kansas Farmers Service Association. Together, these organizations represent all phases of the Kansas grain industry. KF&RTI Director Glenn Pribbenow and KU Continuing Education Executive Director Fred Pawlicki accepted the gift during a meeting of the Kansas Fire Service Training Commission in Lawrence on Aug. 18.
The gift will improve training for grain-handling facility workers who will be drilled alongside firefighters in rescue procedures for individuals trapped in grain bins and hoppers.
“This gift gives us the resources to provide training that will undoubtedly save lives,” Pribbenow said. “We have an important responsibility to ensure that Kansas firefighters are prepared to meet these types of emergencies, and this training will help us continue to meet those needs.”
The KGFA, headquartered in Topeka, is a voluntary trade association made up of more than 950 Kansas business locations, representing 99 percent of Kansas commercially licensed grain storage. The KCC, also based in Topeka, is a voluntary trade organization representing all types of cooperative businesses in Kansas, including grain handling co-ops. KFSA, based in Hutchinson, provides risk management services and commercial insurance throughout the Midwest.
“Safety is of primary concern to the grain industry,” said KGFA President/CEO Tom R. Tunnell. “First and foremost is training to prevent entrapments. But it is important that grain handlers and local firefighters be prepared to respond if ever the need arises.”
“The members of our three associations saw a need for this type of training in Kansas and stepped up to the plate with support,” said Leslie Kaufman, President/CEO of the KCC. “Although our members are commercial operations, they realize this type of training will be invaluable to local firefighters, whether called to a business or an on-farm location.”
“Our customers identified the need for a quality grain rescue program that can be delivered to all parts of the state,” said Mike Pesek, CEO of the KFSA. “This partnership will help meet the needs of both the fire service and the grain industry.”
The Kansas Fire & Rescue Training Institute, headquartered in Lawrence, provides training for firefighters in Kansas communities. The Institute is a dynamic organization providing training services through a “Mobile Fire Academy” concept, designed to accommodate local needs through training delivered anywhere in Kansas. The Institute trains thousands of firefighters each year.