Special Training Exercise Shows Seriousness of Grain Bin Dangers

Mitchell, S.D.-An 80-year-old man from northern Iowa, a 16-year-old boy from Winner and a 22-year-old man from Irene all suffocated to death in the past few years in grain bin accidents. Thursday safety officials educated farmers on the dangers associated with grain bins. A special training exercise was held at Mitchell Technical Institute as part of Stand Up For Grain Safety Week.     

Grain elevators can be a hazardous place to work if people aren’t careful. Students and commercial agriculture companies saw firsthand the seriousness of someone being trapped in a grain bin. This is all apart of South Dakota’s first ever Grain Engulfment Prevention Summit held by safety leaders in the Ag industry.

“The reason why this happens is possibly because steps weren’t taken to be able to prevent it,” said Organizer, Pamela Intermill.

The main message: “Deaths are preventable and trying to come up with and provide solutions to conquer ways in how we can prevent grain bin deaths,” said Intermill.

Knowing the risk before getting into a grain bin will help prevent incidents from happening, which is why a Grain Engulfment Rescue Trainer was used to simulate how someone can get engulfed in a grain bin .

“It’s just a matter of seconds that happens. It just, I mean a blink of an eye you can be down, you could be chest deep, you could be could be waist deep, you could be over your head,” said Sam McCloud, a rope and rescue team member.

Folks learned what to do if it happens and what it takes to rescue someone from a bin.

“With our younger generation, you hear more and more about people getting hurt or entrapped or covered up in grain. That’s the reason why we are out here,” said McCloud.

It’s a process to get someone out, they use a probe to search for the person and make a perimeter around them to keep grain out.

”It can be hours, it can be 10, 12 hours,” said McCloud.

For many like Hannah Pagler  the experience is eye opening.

“I didn’t realize it was actually this dangerous to to be in a grain bin with just corn in there and all the pressure that can go on you and the temperature that can get you, just hypothermia I didn’t know any of that,” said Pagler.

Now she can share with other the safety tips she’s learned, it may even help save a life

According to Purdue University 500 grain bin deaths have been reported in the past 50 years.

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