Progress is being made on the Columbus Fire Department’s Ag Rescue Facility thanks to the generosity of many area businesses and community leaders. Now, organizers are hoping to take the next steps.
CFD officials are currently looking for annual corn donations for the grain engulfment simulation.
“Annually, this corn will be replaced, sold and used to pay for facility upkeep, training equipment and expansion of training props,” CFD Firefighter Ryan Sabata said. “I would suggest 100-bushel incremental donations. And I would ship those bushels with my semi if someone doesn’t want to deliver. We need 1,000-1,500 bushels total to fill it.”
The idea for the Ag Rescue Facility dates back to 2017, and will ultimately be a location where fire officials from all over the state and region can train.
“It is always challenging to provide realistic training that truly prepares you and tests your capabilities,” said Sabata, who is also an instructor for CFD and the Nebraska State Fire Marshal’s Office. “Realistic training is what everyone wants. This facility will make us better prepared for the technical rescues we will encounter in our district.”
The facility, located on Bill Babka Drive. will also allow firefighters to train for such disciplines as confined space, rope rescue, man vs. machine and trench rescue, among many others.
Of course, the facility becoming a reality would not have been possible without the generosity of so many others. Sabata thanked Behlen Mfg. Co. and its engineering department for donating materials, such as the grain bin itself, and time; as well as Hoppe Irrigation and Jesse the Builder for their efforts.
“They fit this into a tight-working schedule and have been great to work with,” he said. “The few contractors that even considered this project were months out and over budget.”
Other donors that have contributed to the facility include Farmers Credit Union, CoBank, Aurora Coop, ADM, Central Valley Ag, Cargill, Benes Service, Platte Valley Equipment, Hough Farms, Hartman Farms Inc. Asgrow/Dekalb, Sabata R/J Farms, Bank of the Valley, First National Bank, Farmers Coop, Farmers Mutual, Clay Ag, Corteva, Gene Steffy Ford, Sukup Manufacturing, Duo Lift, Busch Equipment, Frontier Cooperative, ALF Construction, Gehring Construction and Ready Mix, and Cornhusker Power.
Sabata also noted his thanks City Engineer Rick Bogus and Chief Building and Code Official Andy Woehrer for getting the project approved through the Federal Aviation Administration since it is located next to the airport and making sure it’s compliant with city building codes.
“We’re definitely grateful to all of the people and businesses who have supported this project,” Sabata said.
For more information, or to donate, call the Columbus Fire Department at 402-564-8127.