27 September 2010

68 per cent of electric blankets brought along to testing events organised last week failed routine safety examinations.

Northamptonshire County Council's trading standards service teamed up with Age Concern to hold the week of safety testing (13th to 17th September) where members of the public were invited to bring their electric blankets in for a safety check.

Of the 352 blankets tested 239 failed with replacement blankets given to the owners for free – the most common fault was due to the age of the blankets, which meant they didn’t comply with current standards.

Cabinet member for customers and communities, Councillor Andre Gonzalez de Savage said: “This is the second time that we have extended the scheme to a week-long series of sessions in locations across the county. Once again it has proved a big success and highlights the need to continue with such a widespread safety campaign.

“The results speak for themselves; over 239 electric blankets failed the tests and were replaced for free. If these blankets had caught fire, they could have had potentially tragic consequences for their owners.

“I’m pleased that we were able to work in partnership to offer these sessions – it’s so important that people are aware of the potential danger of an unsafe electric blanket. Electric blankets should be tested once every three years, and if people are not certain their blanket is safe, they shouldn’t be using it.”

As well as testing the electric blanket, officers from the fire and rescue service were on hand at the sessions to offer free home fire safety checks to residents. During the week, over 100 safety checks were arranged.

The county council was awarded £5,000 by the Electrical Safety Council (ESC) to go towards the electric blanket testing days, as part of ESC’s campaign to fund electrical fire safety projects across the country.

For further safety advice on electric blankets go to the Electrical Safety Council’s website www.esc.org.uk and click on ‘Safety in the home’ where you can download a free safety ‘electric blanket safety’ leaflet, or telephone the consumer helpline on 0870 040 0561.