“I think what they take home after training with us is respect for what grain can do, and I think that’s important,” Baker says. “We bring it to them and in the end they understand how fast you can become a victim.”
Groups like The Safety and Tech Rescue Association (SATRA) travel the country taking their rescue expertise and hands-on education program on the road.
A typical training class runs four to five hours: Half of the time would be spent in the classroom to emphasize issues and overview key points; the second half is in the field. Participants are shown “what it really takes to get someone out of a bin” by using equipment (coffer dams) and lifelines in a hands-on demonstration performed in mock rescue applications. Advanced courses can span two to three days.
“If you don’t quantify the training with hand-on practice — if you’re not testing their knowledge with an exercise — you’re not really sure what [trainees] are walking away with,” says Bill Harp, CEO of SATRA.
In addition to onsite training, a number of educational videos have been produced, for example, NGFA’s “Don’t Go With the Flow” engulfment-prevention training program. SATRA and Oklahoma State will be releasing rescue training videos later this year. Oklahoma State will be distributing its DVD to all elevators and fire departments in Oklahoma.”
Baker notes: “Education is something you have to continue to do with employees and for yourself. From the commercial side, it’s also your responsibility to educate your farmer customers, too.”
In the end, prevention and education is the key to combating grain engulfment.
“This can be a dangerous industry, and many people don’t realize grain engulfment happens in an instant,” Jones notes. “Prevention is everything. It’s just not worth the risk to go into a grain bin — a person’s life is not worth that risk. As an industry, we need to be cognizant of what can happen — it’s not a scare tactic — and we all think it happens to somebody else until you have disaster on your hands.”