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Electric blanket fire - result of inquest

(12 Posts)
alanyoung Sun 07-Jul-13 09:24:14

Thank you very much for your kind comments. I hope much can be learnt from this.

ChuckitintheBucket Sun 30-Jun-13 12:26:44

Oh thats so sad, but thank you for sharing. Very sorry for your loss.

SavoyCabbage Sun 30-Jun-13 12:24:13

Thank you for posting this. I found it thought provoking and informative.

WouldBeHarrietVane Sun 30-Jun-13 12:23:28

I remember the original thread and am so sorry about your aunt sad

alanyoung Sun 30-Jun-13 12:13:26

NatashaBee. Yes, please throw it out and make sure she has and wears a pendant emergency button or something similar. My own mother (aunt's sister) had one, but hung it on the bedpost at night. One night she rolled out of bed on the other side and lay there for hours because she could not reach it until someone found her in the morning. I am sure there are hundreds of stories like this out there and I full understand the reasons about older people's independence, but often they don't think about the worry and suffering that relatives have to face when things like this go wrong.

It can be a very difficult situation for everyone, but we need to keep a close eye on our older relatives.

Of course, I am an older relative myself now and I can feel the pain of old age slowly creeping up on me. I am not being pessimistic - just pragmatic!

NatashaBee Sun 30-Jun-13 11:46:24

I didn't read your first thread, but thank you for posting. It's reminded me that my mum has an old electric blanket (similar age to your aunts), which clearly needs to be thrown out!

YoniBottsBumgina Sun 30-Jun-13 11:41:58

I've always been terrified of electric blankets after being told horror stories about them igniting as a child - it just seems illogical to have something electrical inside something warm and fluffy where you're asleep <shudder>

I imagine that modern ones have all sorts of safety devices installed or they'd have been banned by now with modern health and safety laws etc.

I am very sorry to hear about your aunt.

alanyoung Sun 30-Jun-13 11:37:47

Thank you for your comments and sympathy. My hope in publishing this, of course, is that it may prevent something like this happening to someone else. I am sure my aunt would want that too.

specialsubject Sat 29-Jun-13 20:36:28

Respect to you for passing on what was learned, and sorry about your aunt.

from what you say it sounds like she was given all the right advice, but chose not to take it. That was her privilege - and beyond taking the blanket away, I don't see what anyone else could have done.

Dahlialover Sat 29-Jun-13 14:15:34

Yes I remember your previous thread.

It does seem to have been a very thorough inquest and I am glad that they have taken note. I hope that something improves for others. I am also glad that there are people like you who can see the process through, even after such a distressing time.

Personally, I have gone off the idea of electric blankets. My last one was rubbish and had annoying bits that stuck out, so I chucked it. Good bedding, a warm room and not getting cold before bedtime seem to work better.

mercibucket Sat 29-Jun-13 10:15:57

i didnt read your first thread, but it sounds so sad. thank you for reminding me about electric blankets. sorry for your loss.

alanyoung Sat 29-Jun-13 07:25:41

Hello again.

I have now been to the inquest into my aunt?s death with the electric blanket and I thought you might like to hear what was discovered.

First of all, the blanket turned out to be over 25 years old as the company that produced it went out of business in 1988. She had apparently had a visit from a fire officer on one occasion and a visit from a charity worker in the area concerned with the safety of vulnerable people on another. Both had advised her not to use the blanket, but she went ahead and did so nevertheless.

She did have something of a stubborn streak which I believe comes from a desire for independence and this is something I well understand, particularly as I approach old age myself. She was given a pendant with an emergency button, but sent it back, saying she did not need it. The unfortunate fact is that if she had been wearing it at the time, she would have been able to summon help sooner and not wait until the care worker arrived at 9.00 am to get her up.

The Coroner was very thorough in his investigation, taking over two hours to go through all the details of what had happened. He had plenty of congratulations for the care worker who had the presence of mind not to open the bedroom door more that a few centimetres for fear of letting in fresh oxygen that would have boosted the fire and caused further pain. He also congratulated the Fire Brigade for their speedy response to the 999 call ? they arrived within six minutes and rescued my aunt from bed and put out the fire quickly and efficiently. He also praised the medical team who dealt with her and took her to hospital by air ambulance.

He asked the Fire Brigade and the Council to talk to each other with a view to devising a system whereby electric blankets of vulnerable people could be examined at regular intervals and they said that such discussions were already in place. If there can be a silver lining to this incident, this must surely be it as such a procedure may well save a life in future.

We naturally ask what lessons can be learned from this very unfortunate incident. The first for me is that I will never get into a bed with an electric blanket switched on. It is probably okay to heat the bed up first as long as the plug is removed upon entry. I know some people will say this is somewhat over the top with all the safety certificates electric blankets carry these day, but having witnessed what I have in this case, I will be very careful in my use of electric blankets if ever I feel the need to buy one.

Secondly, it is very important that vulnerable people have and use emergency buttons and we should try to find ways to overcome their natural reluctance to do so.

Thirdly, never hold up a fire engine in the street ? you never know what kind of incident they are attending.

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