Grain Bin Engulfment Training
by Brian Kirk, Meteorologist/Reporter
July 08, 2013 4:46 PM
While it's an everyday necessity for farmers to replace their product with new product it sometimes can turn deadly. From 1965-2005, seventy five percent of grain engulfments were fatal. However, since 2005, that number has dropped to forty three percent. One major reason is how rescue teams are changing the way they approach engulfment rescues, and the Eastern Farmers Co-op (EFC) knows that farmers are putting their lives at risk.
Tim Neuroth, the EFC’s Safety Compliance Specialist, admits most of the accidents have happened in the private sector. "About seventy five percent of engulfments occur on a farm place rather than at an elevator, we train our employees you don't go into a bin if there's an engulfment possibility.”
That's why the co-op is taking a proactive approach and inviting the Sioux Falls Fire Rescue Squad to train for scenarios where farmers are trapped, and both sides are thankful for the opportunity. Neuroth continued, “It's a win-win for eastern farmers knowing that anytime one of our employees were to be engulfed, they're going to have the tools and the training to rescue them, and it makes for a great training facility for them.”
The Sioux Falls Fire Rescue Squad uses tube-like adjoinments called a cofferdam. They install these plates around the victim. Once this is over them, they can slowly dig the grain out so the victim can be pulled out safely, and more product won’t collapse back onto the victim. The product inside can apply so much pressure that if someone were to just pull the victim out using a crane, they risk breaking their back. This is why you physically must remove the product surrounding the person first.
Fire Rescue member Jay Titus is grateful for the chance to learn with his team. “We've done actual grain rescue in the past, but through the help of the Eastern Farmer’s Co-op and Minnehaha County Emergency Management, we're able to get some money to purchase grain tubes that are used to rescue someone engulfed by grain.”
With this new training, farmers can be sure that if an accident happens, a team is prepared to help at a moment’s notice.