TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (WTWO/WAWV) – According to a study conducted by Purdue University, Indiana has seen an increase in grain bin entrapments in recent years.
Purdue University says in 2019, there were 38 grain bin entrapments, a 26% increase from 2018. For Grain Bin Safety Week, Feb. 21-27, one local woman has been advocating for more grain bin safety ever since one fall afternoon in 2019 that changed her life forever.
“Eight cases in 2019 involved youth under the age of 21. My son Colton was one of those eight,” said Anita Howard. “Eight families suffered the same loss that I’m suffering now and have to go on with their lives and try to find some sort of normal which is next to impossible.”
The Crawford County Rescue Squad in Illinois has equipment to help them rescue people from grain bins. One piece of equipment is a tube with four panels that interlock to surround the victim.
Another is a grain bin auger that helps the rescue squad pump grain out of the tube to relieve pressure on the victim.
“They brought a trailer in and they put us down in a pit and we had to put the tube around them and basically extricate out of the pit,” said Captain Greg Newlin of the Crawford County Rescue Squad. “It opened a lot of our eyes, to these kind of situations because of a lot of us have never been through that kind of training.”
For Howard, she feels if she can save at least one life, then one family won’t have to feel the pain that she has to endure.
“By sharing this awareness I hope we can start to bring these numbers down, changes will be made,” Howard. “When a farmer needs to go inside a bin, he’s going to stop and think before entering and perhaps make a wiser decision. Though ultimately get him home at the end of the day.”