Engulfment simulator shows what it’s like to be stuck in a silo

An Ivy Tech student sees what it's like to be trapped in a grain silo.
An Ivy Tech student sees what it's like to be trapped in a grain silo.

LAFAYETTE, Ind. (WLFI) — Area farmers are preparing to bring in this year’s harvest and will soon be filling silos with corn.

That’s why a farm co-operative company is traveling the state to show what to do if someone falls on top of a grain pile and gets stuck. When a worker falls into a full silo, the grain can act like quicksand — sucking the person down.

Co-Alliance Cooperative is giving people the experience of being trapped and showing them how to get out safely. It’s called a Grain Engulfment Simulator.

On Tuesday, Ivy Tech Community College students got to try it out. Jacob Shoufler said it was scary but learned lessons that can save lives.

“I was in there and they were asking, ‘Can you move you toes?’ Moving your toes is about all you can do,” Shoufler said. “You try moving your knees back and forth and they’re just stuck there in position. You can’t move you feet back and forth. You’re locked up to your waist.”

Co-Alliance safety coordinator Michael Williams said the key to surviving an engulfment is to never go in a silo alone.

“If you’re going to do it, you need to have someone at the door and knows where you’re at. The problem on the farm is, somebody goes in there, falls in — avalanche. Nobody knows they’re in there for hours. That’s the whole issue because they’re above their head,” said Williams.

Rescuers surround the victim with metal sheets which are plunged into the grain. This releases the nearly four-hundred pounds of pressure applied by the grain. The person then shovels the grain out of the tube until he can pull himself out.

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