To the rescue: Bromsgrove man gets a Stiltz Home Lift after Fire Brigade stairlift breakdown drama
A 69-year-old chose a Stiltz Home Lift after he had to be rescued by the fire brigade when he became stuck on his stairlift – the third time the mechanical device had broken down in a week.
Stephen Kimberley, from Bromsgrove, was traveling downwards when his stairlift ground to a halt having moved just four steps from the top of the stairs.
Mr Kimberley shouted for help in the hope one of his neighbours would hear him before using his mobile phone which he had in his pocket to call his sister, Pamela, who lives nearby. She rang the emergency services who were able to rescue him within minutes.
The former assembly worker is asthmatic, suffers from angina and has had two knee replacement operations. Mr Kimberley lives alone and has resided in the property his whole life after buying it from his parents. He had the stairlift installed three years ago as climbing the stairs was leaving him breathless.
“It was the third time in a week the stairlift had broken – it was ridiculous,” said Mr Kimberley. “I was only on it for a second before it apparently went into overdrive and got stuck. I couldn’t get off of it!
“I yelled for help, but by the time the neighbours got around I had already called my sister who called the fire brigade. They were really quick and got me off it within a few minutes. One of the firefighters said “you’re not the first person this has happened to” so it obviously happens all the time.”
Mr Kimberley says he refused to use the stairlift again and has now had a capsule-shaped Stiltz Duo Home Lift installed – which was completed by Dolphin Lifts Midlands – in the living room where he was born which travels ‘through the floor’ up to his main bedroom.
He said: “I decided I wasn’t going to use the stairlift again. I was frightened of using it in case I became trapped again – it was too nerve-wracking. I had the stairlift serviced every year and it still broke down. I didn’t know about home lifts when I bought the stairlift three years ago otherwise I would have got a Stiltz Home Lift back then.
“It’s easy to use, runs smoothly and I feel safe. It is electric-powered and plugs straight into the wall. I had a power cut the other day while I was in the lift but, because it has a battery back-up, it brought me back down safely until the power came back on again. The lift has improved my life and made me more mobile. I’ve no anxiety about using it. It’s one small step in, push a button and I’m off.”
After living at the same house for his entire life, Mr Kimberley insisted he would never consider moving to a bungalow. “I love this house,” he added. “It would be too difficult to leave and I don’t think I would settle anywhere else. We’re a close-knit community and if the neighbours haven’t seen me for a couple of days they always knock on the door to make sure I’m ok, so I’m happy here.”