A third of electric blankets fail safety test

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Electric blanket testing taking place at Heathfield Fire Station
Electric blanket testing taking place at Heathfield Fire Station

One in three electric blankets tested at Wealden’s free testing sessions failed to meet safety standards.

A drop-in session was held at Crowborough Fire Station last month, along with similar events at five other venues across Wealden.

Councillor Clare Dowling, Cabinet member for Public Health and Community Safety said:

We are still seeing a worryingly high failure rate.  One double blanket was actually smouldering during the test.  It was not only a fire hazard, but could also have given the user an electric shock.

Our testing sessions highlight how important it is for everyone to check their electric blankets thoroughly for any worn connections or fraying fabric before switching on this year. If they look old or damaged in any way, please get them checked by a qualified electrician. You cannot afford to risk starting a house fire.

Wealden Borough Commander Mani Gilbert-King from East Sussex

Wealden Borough Commander Mani Gilbert-King
Wealden Borough Commander Mani Gilbert-King

Fire and Rescue Service said:

We are pleased that people took the opportunity to have their electric blankets tested but know there must be many more blankets which have not been professionally checked.  Common warning signs include controls making a buzzing sound when switched on, scorching smells and overheating at the connector where the electrical cable plugs into the blanket.  Electrical fires can be devastating – we urge people not to take risks.

As well as a free electric blanket testing service, residents were also able to find out more about staying fit and healthy over the winter months and cost-effective ways of keeping the home warm.  Representatives from East Sussex Fire and Rescue, East Sussex County Council’s supported living team, Wiltshire Farm Foods, Age Concern and Wealden Senior Citizen Partnership also provided help and advice.

This sessions received funding from the Safer Wealden Partnership.

Download WDC’s Electric Blanket Safety Advice Leaflet.

Tips for safe blanket use:

  • Always buy a new blanket – second hand blankets may not be safe
  • Have your blanket tested every year
  • Always read the manufacturers instructions carefully – and follow them
  • Never use a blanket with scorch marks or exposed elements
  • Never use the blanket if it’s wet or creased. Never switch it on to dry out
  • Never use a hot water bottle and an electric blanket together
  • Check the plug cord for any signs of wear or damage
  • Do not fit the blanket to an adaptor or multi-socket block with another appliance plugged in
  • Make sure the power is turned off at the wall and the blanket is unplugged if not in use
  • Keep the blanket stored carefully over the summer months – refer to the manufacturers instructions on how best to do this
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