Good things happen when people work together on a local level to help the greater good.
Information provided by Almont's Yarbrough Insurance Group coupled with the diligent efforts of Almont Twp. farmer and firefighter Rick Ziehm have paid off in more ways than one.
Knowing the often-deadly hazards presented by farm implements and grain storage bins, Ziehm spent years attaining specialized training and gathering information on lifesaving equipment and techniques. As a farmer, he has firsthand knowledge of how quickly things can go wrong. As a 16-year-member of the Almont Twp. Fire Department, his interest in preventing tragedies and saving lives is evident.
For the past four years, Ziehm has applied for grants through the National Education Center for Agricultural Safety to bring specialized rescue equipment to the area. He learned about the program through Almont's Yarbrough Insurance Group, who contacted Ziehm about the NECAS program through Nationwide Insurance, and suggested he apply. This year, Ziehm's efforts paid off. Out of 400 applicants, Almont was one of just 29 departments from 19 states chosen to receive the equipment. Last Thursday, firefighters from around the area gathered at the Almont Township Fire Hall for a special presentation and demonstration of the equipment.
According to the most recent statistics available from NECAS, in 2016 there were 70,000 disabling accidents and 593 fatalities reported on farms. While it has been rare, the Tri-City area has not been immune from these deadly incidents.
Almont Twp. Fire Department's acquisition of the grain bin rescue equipment is yet another life-saving tool in the box for Tri-City area firefighters. Like Ziehm, we hope the equipment will sit and gather dust and rust, but should an incident occur, it's good to know it's available, and that there are skilled firefighters ready and prepared to use it.
Kudos to Yarbrough Insurance Group of Almont and to Rick Ziehm for working together to bring this lifesaving equipment to the Tri-City area.