Bulloch County looks at tools for grain entrapments - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

County looks at tools for grain entrapments

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Bulloch County's Emergency Medical Service Director Lee Eckles Bulloch County's Emergency Medical Service Director Lee Eckles

It took hours to free a farm worker and a rescue squad member from tons of gran in a 40 foot tall bin. After they were rescued, county leaders began exploring tools and methods to help victims quicker if it ever happened again.

David Averitt entered a grain bin to unclog leaves and dirt from a shoot. When it opened, his footing gave way and the pile swallowed him up to his chest. One of the responders, rescue squad member Daryl Colson, lost his grip and fell into the pile too.

"What I've read today says just being in grain up to your knees is impossible to free yourself," said Lee Eckles, Bulloch County's Emergency Medical Service director.

Eckles said the weight of the soybeans presses on limbs and can limit circulation. The more a person moves, he said, the deeper they sink.

"If they're chest deep, every time they exhale the grain takes up that space and doesn't allow them to inhale as deeply," he added.

By morning, public safety leaders were discussing some devices made for grain entrapments. 

"It looks like a tube and you wedge it down through the grain until it's near the victim's feet," Eckles explained. "The victim and rescue crews can then scoop grain out from within the tube and the walls keep more grain from shifting. That reduces the pressure until you can pull the victim free."

Eckles said Averitt and Colson were the first local entrapments he could remember in 30 years. But, it would still be worth the estimated $3,000 to $4,000 cost.

"We can't put a dollar value on a person's life," he assured.

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