Arick Baker of Eldora, Iowa knows the story he can tell of being buried alive in a grain bin can be a lesson for others; his message is simple — don’t do what he did....
Arick Baker of Eldora, Iowa knows he is lucky to be alive.
He also recognizes the story he can tell of surviving being buried alive in a grain bin can be a lesson for others.
His message is simple. Don’t do what he did. Take every precaution before entering a bin that still has grain inside of it, especially during the grain unloading process.
Baker, who gained notoriety after an ABC program featured his buried alive account, was in Redwood Falls to speak with Redwood County Fair attendees.
His presentation was made possible by Harvest Land Cooper-ative and Ag Quest.
According to the U.S. Department of Labor Occupational Safety and Health Administra-tion (OSHA), there have been more than 900 grain engulfment incidents over the past decade with a 62 percent fatality rate.
It takes just five seconds to get trapped, and just 60 seconds for a trapped individual to be completely submerged. Those who die in grain bin engulfment incidents suffocate, and, according to OSHA, in those incidents they discovered those victims had breathed in a stomach full of grain.
Baker said growing up on the farm he was always told if you go down in a grain bin you are going to die.
So, how did this 20-something not only survive but actually spend five hours in a grain bin before he was rescued?
It all has to do with the equipment Baker was wearing.
Baker remembers June 26, 2013 like it was yesterday. It was a typical farm day for the family.
Corn was being un-loaded from a bin on the farm, and Baker was being called to take on more of the tasks for the operation as his dad was getting older.
When the grain stopped coming out, Baker went into the bin and discovered some rotting corn, which he began to poke to try and break it up.
As he broke through, Baker found himself sinking in the corn.
“At 10:32 a.m. I was 18 inches deep in corn,” he said, adding that was enough to immobilize him.
As the corn continued to move, he found himself fully submerged. On a farm that emphasized safety, Baker had taken a rope with him, and he was wearing a helmet. That helmet, he said, saved his life, as it allowed space between the corn pressing in on him and his face. That created breathing room for him.
By this time, it was discovered that Baker was in trouble, and rescue crews were called.
Baker said he was fully submerged for two hours and 40 minutes, and it took five hours to get him out of the bin. While rescuers utilized a cofferdam as part of the effort, Baker said a hole was also cut in the bin. The issue, he said, was as the corn was flowing out of the hole the need for people to continue removing that corn existed, because it kept plugging up the hole.
Baker said he has certainly learned his lesson, adding he hopes others learn from the mistakes he made.
“I survived,” he said. “It was not easy to breathe. My heart rate was 265 beats a minute. They said if I was five years older I would have died of a heart attack, and if I was five years younger the pressure, which they say is 400 pounds per square inch, I was experiencing would have crushed me.”
Jack Volz of Parthenon Agency, LLC. brought a grain bin safety simulator he developed to the fair to help people better understand the realities of being trapped.
“No, you can’t pull yourself out,” said Volz, adding it takes 350 pounds of pulling strength added to the persons weight to try and remove them.
He said even trying that could wreak untold additional damage to the body.
“When you are buried up to your waist you can’t get out,” he said.
Volz said the most important thing one can do is keep their grain in good condition, because good grain flows. It is the grain that is out of condition that creates the scenario where people feel the need to crawl into a bin.
“If you have to crawl into a bin, make sure all of the unloading equipment is shut off first,” said Volz. “If you are running the equipment, there is a good chance you are going to get buried.”
Volz said his trailer is going to be featured this year at Farmfest for those who want to learn more, adding the demonstrations open a lot of eyes.