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Grain Bin Safety Equipment Demonstration

August 22, 2013, 6:07 PM by Don Jorgensen

Grain Bin Safety Equipment Demonstration
MITCHELL, SD -

Grain bin accidents kill people every year and sometimes the victims are teenagers who work on the farm. More and more fire departments are getting training to cut that number down.

"With a ten inch farm auger, it takes about three seconds before you can't get out. Nobody can believe how fast or how hard it grabs you," safety trainer for the South Dakota Wheat Growers Matt Huls said.

11-year-old Micah Healy has a safety harness on, but even in this controlled setting, it takes a just few minutes to get sucked into the corn over his knees.

But even though Healy isn't even waist deep in the corn, he is hopelessly trapped.

"I could move my feet, but not much," Healy said.

The South Dakota Wheat Growers puts on this training to show fire fighters and EMTs how to save lives in a grain bin accident, but this demonstration is a wake-up call for farm kids.

"At the fairs, we really like to engulf the farm kids. Get them feeling that early; they don't forget it," Huls said.

To get Healy out, the rescue crew uses four panels to create a life-saving tube.

"The first panel we put in, we actually sink as far as we can right away," Huls said.

The idea is to surround the victim.

"If any more grain came avalanching down, it would at least keep his face clear," Huls said. 

They then use a vacuum to suck the grain out and relieve the pressure.

Earlier this summer, a Hendricks, Minnesota, man was rescued using tubes just like these and that's not all.

"Closer to the Aberdeen area, we've had two rescues involved with the rescue tubes that we donated. If you save one life, it's well worth all the money spent and the time," South Dakota Wheat Growers safety trainer Tom Waletich said.

And the time spent showing kids the danger of grain bins is paying off as well.

"Don't play in them unless you have a harness on," Healy said.

"If at all possible, just don't go into bins at all. If you do, make sure all the discharge equipment is locked out and nobody can start it," Huls said.

The South Dakota Wheat Growers put on four free training sessions for fire fighters and EMTs every year and will take their training on the road for a fee.

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