13 September 2010

Northamptonshire County Council’s fire and rescue service is urging people to take advantage of the free electric blanket testing sessions taking place this week (13th 17th September)

More than 1,000 fires were caused by electric blankets in homes across the UK in 2009, with many causing injury and in some cases death.

To help reduce this risk, county council’s trading standards service has once again teamed up with Age Concern to offer free electric blanket testing with the added bonus that any blankets that fail the testing will be replaced for free (limited to one per household).

Martyn Emberson, chief fire officer said: “Nationally hundreds of fires are caused every year by electric blankets, so ensuring yours is safe is really important. We find that a lot of people fold up their electric blankets when they’re not in use, however this damages the internal wiring, making them dangerous.

“I strongly urge people to take advantage of the sessions on offer next week to get their blankets tested and ensure they are not putting themselves at risk of a fire, causing damage to their homes or worse.”

Northamptonshire Fire and Rescue Service offer the following advice to anyone getting out their electric blanket in the coming months:

Only follow the manufacturer’s instructions when cleaning or washing your electric blanket.

Check blanket regularly for detached tie strings, frayed edges, scorch marks and loose electrical connections.

Make sure that the blanket is always laid flat; folds or creases can damage internal wiring and cause overheating.

Ensure the mains lead and control hang freely; the electric flex should not be twisted, coiled, laid across the blanket or tucked under the mattress or covers.