CCWF firefighters trained for "engulfment," such as when an employee is trapped in a grain silo, which are common in central California.

CCWF firefighters trained for “engulfment,” such as when an employee is trapped in a grain silo, which are common in central California.

Central California Women’s Facility Station 5 train for grain engulfment

By Lt. Brian Davi, AA/Public Information Officer
Central California Women’s Facility

The Central California Women’s Facility (CCWF) inmate Fire Fighters from Station 5, in conjunction with the Madera County Fire Department, participated in engulfment training at Azteca Farms.

In December 2015, CCWF inmate Fire Fighters received specialized rescue training in grain engulfment, due to the high number of grain storage bins (primarily corn silos) in the Central Valley.

According to researchers at Purdue University, more than 1,050 cases of grain engulfment have been reported with a fatality rate of 62 percent in the past 50 years.  In 2010, at least 26 U.S. workers were killed in grain engulfments − the highest number on record.

A custom-built, grain engulfment simulation-training vehicle (a modified Train Boxcar) was filled with corn and the simulation showed first-responders how fast a person can be engulfed in the grain.  At the average flow rate for grain, a 6-foot-tall worker can be covered in grain in 11 seconds and would be unable to free themselves after 5 seconds.

CCWF Station 5 responds to Valley State Prison and covers a 200-mile radius in and around Madera County.  Station 5 responded to 924 response calls consisting of 685 Fires, 140 Medical calls, 64 Motor Vehicle Accidents and 35 Public Service Assistance calls from Jan. 1 through Sept. 4, 2015.  All inmate firefighters receive training in advanced first aid, CPR/AED, Wildland/Structural Firefighting operations, vehicle extrication rescue, fire extinguisher servicing, hazardous materials response certification and the necessary training for the State Fire Marshal FF1 Certificate.

Station 5 houses 10 CCWF inmate firefighters.

“The invitation to participate in the specialized training is an affirmation of Station 5’s integrity, professionalism and integral partnership with the local community in preventing loss of life and property.  We look forward to future training opportunities,” said Warden Deborah K. Johnson.

According to the U.S. Department of Labor, “During the week of June 6, 2011, three workers (in different states) … were killed when they were engulfed … by grain while on the job. … Suffocation from engulfment is a leading cause of death in grain bins, and the number of these deaths continues to rise. In fact, the number of deaths more than doubled between 2006 and 2010.”

(Editor’s note: Some websites may not be accessible from a CDCR computer.)

Learn more about grain engulfment, https://www.osha.gov/SLTC/grainhandling/hazard_alert.html

Engulfment training helps prepare inmate firefighters for additional emergencies, such as those often found in the agricultural areas of central California.

Engulfment training helps prepare inmate firefighters for additional emergencies, such as those often found in the agricultural areas of central California.