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Petri Lampinen, a member of the EWGPWD, shares a frightening experience

Monday 02 March 2020

I recently had a scary and quite dangerous experience which I would like to share. It was a crisp frosty day in January. I had just come home and decided to have a warm shower. After my shower, I decided to light a fire in the fireplace. I was wearing a bathrobe which was made of synthetic fibre. As I was squatting before the fireplace, I lit a match in the same way as always, with one swift stroke. But this time, something went wrong.

I smelt burning. I looked to my right and noticed the shoulder of my bathrobe was on fire. I got up, startled. My whole bathrobe caught fire and I remember thinking “What am I supposed to do?” Luckily, I have a scout background so I was instinctively able to act quickly. I ran across the living room with a burning bathrobe on, opened the terrace door and threw the burning bathrobe onto the snowy terrace. I then picked up a shovel leaning against a wall and quickly put out the fire. Then, I immediately went back inside the house to check there weren’t any embers smouldering. Nothing was found and all I had to do was to switch off beeping fire and carbon monoxide alarms, and ventilate the apartment. My home care staff came early that day and I told the whole story with shaking hands. I still have no idea how my bathrobe caught fire.

After that experience, I am more careful with the fire. Also, I do not burn candles at home because I would surely forget to keep an eye on them. I am very careful in the kitchen and avoid any kind of distraction that could interrupt what I am doing and perhaps cause a dangerous situation. I recommend that everybody has a safe switch for the stove and to always keep a fire blanket nearby. I can tell this story with some humour now but on that particular day I got a terrible fright and I could not sleep well for a few days after the incident. I felt unsafe for a while but luckily things turned back to normal quite quickly. I want to thank Suomen pelastusalan keskusjärjestö (Central Organisation of Rescue Services in Finland) who collaborate closely with The Alzheimer Society of Finland to ensure a safer way of living for people with memory-related diseases.