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David Sparks Ph.d Silo Safety
by David Sparks Ph.d, click here for bio

Program: Idaho Ag Today
Date: November 20, 2018

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I will never forget a conversation I had with Travis Jones who at that time was executive director of the Idaho Grain Producers Association regarding what he called silo safety. Travis laid out in graphic detail the dangers associated with handling grain in a silo… The potential for suffocation. It looks like it’s a common concern and scientists are determined to do something about it. GERT - which stands for grain engulfment rescue trainer - is a portable safety simulator used by South Dakota Wheat Growers. The company used GERT to demonstrate what happens when people get lodged inside grain bins and in some cases suffocate. Beth Locken with Wheat Growers says they’re using the model to train EMTS, first responders and farmers and students: “ You can become fully engulfed in three seconds and even if the grain gets above your knees you cannot get out. What we are trying to demonstrate to people is to see how that actually feels and to see how fast that can take place. We are trying to get people to understand that it only takes a few seconds to get engulfed but it can take 2 to 6 hours to get rescued or retrieved. We started out by donating 40 to 50 rescue tubes to all of our elevators in Wheat Growers territory and from that we decided that we needed a way to train the fire departments and EMTS and people in our industry. That is where the idea formed to build GERT’s.

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