High numbers of electric blankets found to be unsafe
A total of 244 blankets were tested at seven separate sessions held in Worcester, Droitwich, Evesham, Pershore, Malvern, Tenbury and Broadway, and of these, 144 failed the safety checks.
Becky Valender, Community Safety Advisor with Hereford & Worcester Fire and Rescue Service (HWFRS), said: “Well over half of the electric blankets we tested were found to be defective in one way or another, and five of these blankets were in an extremely dangerous condition.
“While it is concerning to see so many blankets failing the checks, it’s reassuring to know that these are no longer in use and putting people at risk. We would urge others using electric blankets to take a few moments to check the condition of their own blanket and to discontinue use if they spot any signs of wear and tear.”
She recommended that people check both the blanket and the lead, and to stop using the blanket immediately if the lead seems worn, or there are any missing connections, exposed elements, scorch marks or water damage, or any creasing or folding.
She said that electric blankets should be tested every year and replaced every 10 years, and that the manufacturer’s instructions should be followed carefully to ensure both safe use and storage. She also advised electric blanket users not to take hot water bottles or drinks to bed with them, as any leaks or spills on the blanket could result in a dangerous mix of water and electricity.
A range of fire safety advice was also available during the electric blanket safety sessions, and 26 people arranged to have a Home Fire Safety Check, where a representative from the Fire Service visits them at home to offer fire safety advice specific to their household and to fit smoke alarms as needed.
CSA Valender added: “Nine of the households we went to did not have smoke alarms and so these were supplied and installed during the visit. Working smoke alarms can make a massive difference in the event of a fire, so please do ensure you have one fitted on every floor of your home and that you check each alarm on a regular basis.”