News
8:25 pm
Fri August 2, 2013

State Simulates Grain Bin Rescues

Emergency crews need to be ready for all types of situations… and that requires thorough training.

Statehouse Correspondent Andy Chow learned about a new educational tool that’s training first-responders on a unique but still very dangerous scenario.


Imagine walking on top of thousands of bushels of grain inside a giant farming silo when all of the sudden that grain starts to shift creating a quicksand effect. You’re now sucked into tons of grain putting immense pressure on your body and you’re stuck… this is a real-life scenario that can happen to farmers all around the state.


In fact… In the last 10 years… 14 Ohio farmers have died when their grain caved-in on them.


That’s why first responders need to know the exact steps to take in order to rescue a person trapped inside a grain bin. And farmers need to know how to survive the process.


So several state departments have teamed up with the Ohio State University to provide a mobile simulator that demonstrates a rescue and how a person can get stuck in the first place.


Right now Erin, with the Ohio Department of Agriculture, is digging herself out after getting trapped waist-deep in corn. Don’t worry, this is just a demonstration that the department is putting on for people at the Ohio State Fair.


But the demo is meant to replicate a very real and dire situation.


This simulator is attached to a tractor trailer so officials can run through the same demonstration around the state.

Ohio’s First Lady Karen Kasich, has been a big supporter of this educational tool and says it’s important for everyone to get real-life experience in this emergency.


Karen Kasich: “What do they say: ‘a picture’s worth 1,000 words.’ A picture’s worth 1,000 words here as well. We could talk about it but to actually see someone go down into the silo and see her being pulled up and helped by the rescue workers and also seeing the demo about how easy it is to get caught really brings the point home.”


State Fire Marshal Larry Flowers says this training can also help first-responders avoid becoming victims themselves.


Flowers: “You may have two victims because it’s inherently that someone else may want to jump in and help the person that is sinking in the—in this case—the corn. And that can also happen to first responders if they’re not well-trained if they’re not informed they may jump in that same silo with the victim so now we have two victims.”


Opening the release valve outside the silo causes that quicksand effect. As they tour the state, emergency officials are warning farmers to always make sure that valve is closed before jumping into the bin.


By spreading that message, Flowers hopes farmers will learn how to avoid getting caught in such a situation altogether.


Andy Chow at the Ohio Public Radio Statehouse News Bureau.