This is from the Saint Paul Pioneer Press for December 1. A young life was extinguished due to the lack of a $10 GFI.
====================================================== The death of a 6-year-old Hudson girl in a bathtub offers a sad lesson about the dangers of using electrical appliances near water, officials say.
Chelsea Joe "Princess" Helland was found with a hair dryer in the water-filled tub, and a medical examiner's report shows a high probability she died from electrocution, said interim Police Chief Eric Atkinson.
Emergency personnel responded to the apartment complex about 7 p.m. Sunday.
According to police, the mother told officers the girl and her 2-year-old sister were in the tub when the mother briefly left the room. When she saw the toddler was out, she went to check on the other girl and found her unresponsive in the bathtub with the hair dryer.
The mother, her boyfriend, paramedics and police officers tried to revive the girl, but she was pronounced dead at Hudson Hospital.
Atkinson said he thinks a ground fault circuit interrupter installed in the outlet or contained in the dryer would have prevented the tragedy.
According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, a GFCI in a home wiring system constantly monitors the flow of electricity and instantly switches off power if there is any loss of current. That can prevent a person from getting a lethal jolt.
"I believe that if there would have been a GFCI outlet or mini-GFCI in the hair dryer, we wouldn't be where we are today," Atkinson said.
If the tub has no metallic connection to anything, a GFCI may not prevent this type of tragedy. Some hair dryers have Immersion-detector circuit interrupters (IDCIs) which can prevent this type of accident.
A very sad tragic event surely. What could one do to prevent it? Was this a rental? Trivial I know ,after a loss such as this. Are the authorities to inspect rentals before each change of hands? Annual house inspections? Make all safety changes,AS important as GFCI retroactive? I have not the answer,But thought Ideas may be out there.
I'm torn on this one. I really want to rip into the manufacturer for installing a safety device that requires a specific circumstance for the so-called immersion detector to work, i.e. the handle must be in the water for the device to work. On the other hand I realize that we can't protect everyone, everywhere from everything that could possibly go wrong.
One would think that an electric device that is labeled as having a certain protective mechanism could be relied upon to protect you in your time of need.
It's a tragedy what happened to this girl and her family and I can only hope that manufacturers have another look at how these immersion detectors are designed and installed.
Greg, I guess there are different designs. Another issue is that immersion detectors are not required. The manufacturer can use GFCIs or appliance leakage circuit interrupters. The only one that will provide protection when there is no grounding path in the water in the immersion detector. Don