1. #1
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    Nov 2002

    Default corn picker entrapment

    We just had a man get his hand caught in a two row corn picker rollers. We used halegan wedges, air bag and finaly turned the rollers backwards which got the hand out, intact. Jaws wouldn't work, has anyone else had experience with corn pickers, what worked and what didn't?

  2. #2
    SPFDRum's Avatar
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    Mar 1999
    St Paul, MN


    sklump, do a web search for "Farm-Medic" programs. They have an entire course for just such entrapments. I know a few of the rural departments to the east of the twin cities in 'sconny have had people take the class.
    Chains are as about as bad as it gets. Each link is like a lever and it's absolutely amazing how much energy they can release once freed. (Look at the number of people losing fingers off snowblowers.) Now multiply that by the many/long chains on a corn picker.
    My posts reflect my views and opinions, not the organization I work for or my IAFF local. Some of which they may not agree. I.A.C.O.J. member
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  3. #3
    dazed and confused
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    Dec 2000
    New England


    I second the FarMedic program.

    Very useful information that applies, generally, to all person-in-machine incidents.

    There is a heavy emphasis on personal safety, stabilizing the incident, recognizing hazards (especially stored energy), and disassembly.
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  4. #4
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    Feb 2000
    S.W. Virginia


    Having been somewhat of a "Farm Boy" all my life & having taken a version of the Farm Medic program, let me just say that on the vast majority of Farm Machinery related incidents your Options are:
    - Non-Destructive Disassembly (Wrenches & Screw Drivers)
    - Mechanism Reversal (Manual NOT Powered)
    - Destructive Disassembly (Saws & Torches - may include prying here also for what few parts will bend/give) - VERY Slow & VERY Hard
    - Field Amputation - All else fails it's life over limb.

    Again remember these are generalizations not specific "must do it this way every time" rules.

    My recommendations would be:
    First, as has already been mentioned, take some type of Farm Medic Course.

    Second, contact your local Farm Equipment dealers & have some "Show & Tell" trips to see what you're up against. If at all possible, have a dealers mechanic lead the show & tell trips. He knows best where to to start work & which methods will & won't work - however you should temper his expertise on the equipment with your knowledge of Pt. care (i.e. if he tells you the best thing to do is to torch something to cut it, just remember that if it's in contact w/ the Pt. that heat transfer IS an issue to overcome & may in fact rule out that option).

    Third - talk to the Dealers to see who has traveling service trucks and/or mechanics that are willing to come to your calls and assist you. Set up agreements and get contact information at this point.

    For the call you posted (and from not being there myself) it sounds like you did a pretty good job with what you had to work with. Now take that experience & build on it.
    Take Care - Stay Safe - God Bless

  5. #5
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    MetalMedic's Avatar
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    Dec 1999
    The Home of Smucker's Jelly


    I have been told that a corn picker is probably one of the most difficult entrapments situations you might face in your career. We have offered the FarmMedic program at our County Fire School and have received excellent feedback from those attending.

    A while back, our County Association contacted all of the farm implement dealers in the county to establish a call list such as N2DFire suggests. The folks who work on these machines are excellent resources when you are faced with taking one apart. Care must be made to keep your lists updated and to be sure you have weekend/after-hours contact numbers. Don't forget to check with your local technical schools or vocational schools if you are in a farming area. Chances are that they have an Agricultural Mechanics program where you may find some instructors who are also knowledgable in this area.
    Richard Nester
    Orrville (OH) Fire Dept.

    "People don't care what you know... until they know that you care." - Scott Bolleter

  6. #6
    Senior Member
    Dalmatian90's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2000


    Many years ago I had to do the presumption an a man v. corn chopper. Hired man was getting ready for lunch, idled down the tractor, and was oiling it. You could see the scenario -- he reached over to pickup a gallon jug of oil, he put his foot out to balance -- and the foot got caught in the belts. Terrible, slow way to die. At chopping speed it would've nearly been instant and the remains mostly a red stain in the chop wagon. Can still see the white knuckles where he was holding on, and one foot wrapped up around his head. Other leg was gone, as well as most of his insides.

    IIRC we did like was suggested above -- unhooked the PTO and used a pry bar as a lever to spin it in reverse to release the little bit of flesh still pinned. State Police had been in contact with the local John Deere dealer, but we told them not to bother since we had sufficient expertise on farm equipment on scene.

    We also deconned the equipment after the Medical Examiner & State Police were finished for the farmer -- brought up our ET to wash it down, then made a few passes through the field chopping to let the chopped corn scrub out anything remaining. Sad, surreal day.

    One thing that did work well is we had three members, including the OIC, who were very experienced with farm machinery. In a good example of each person contributes where they're strongest, one of the members actually used to own this farm and was very familiar with the actual machines, so he took the lead in handling the tractor & chopper. "Yep, ok, pull this lever, then do this to release that, then we can do this to make that happen" type of stuff.

    Our fire service tools are good for wood buildings, and for lightweight machines like automobiles and pickup trucks. You get into industrial and agricultural machinery, we're not going to bend and pry much...they're designed to take a lot more abuse than we can give them.
    IACOJ Canine Officer

  7. #7
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    nmfire's Avatar
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    Nov 2002
    Maryland (DC Suburb)


    A few years ago in Clinton, a guy got his arm entangled in a coveyor at a nursery. Hospital docs and all were on scene trying to get this guy out of the thing. They ended up having to cut a section of the conveyor out and bring him to the hospital with the conveyor still attached to his arm. This required cribbing IN the ambulance to hold the conveyor up on the way in. Once in the OR, the FD had to be there with hose lines down the hallways standing by and all kinds of electric and hydrolic tools to try and cut it apart piece by piece. Unfortunately, he ended up losing his arm despite the efforts of many.
    Even the burger-flippers at McDonald's probably have some McWackers.

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