Faulty electric blankets can cause deadly fires. Approximately 20 people are killed and 250 are injured every year in fires caused by electric blankets. The most common reason blankets fail is due to their age, when faults are more likely to develop in the wiring. They can also fail as older blankets don't have an overheat protection system, which are now found in the newer blankets.
Mid and West Wales Fire and Rescue Service's Carmarthenshire Community Safety team is holding Electric Blanket testing sessions at Llanelli Fire Station on September 9th. It is doing the same at ten other fire stations throughout the county during August and September. You can take your blankets along to have a free electrical safety test carried out - no appointment is necessary. Testing will be between 10.00 am and 2.00 pm.
Once the test is complete, customers are advised whether their blanket is safe to continue using. If your blanket is deemed to be unsafe, all faulty Electric Blankets will be replaced free of charge following a Home Fire Safety Check by the Fire Service.
By following these simple rules, people can help to keep themselves safe while keeping warm this winter:
. Always buy new - second hand electric blankets may not be safe.
. To ensure your electric blanket is still safe to use, have it checked by an expert at least every three years- or as recommended by the manufacturer.
. If an electric blanket is more than 10 years old, consider throwing it away and buy a new one.
. Always read the manufacturer's instructions carefully and follow them.
. Never use an electric blanket with scorch marks or exposed elements.
. Never use an electric blanket if it is wet or creased and do not switch it on to dry it out.
. Never use a hot water bottle and an electric blanket together in the same bed.
. Check the plug and cord for any signs of wear or damage.
. Make sure the power is turned off at the wall and the electric blanket is unplugged if not in use.
. Never use the electric blanket folded - always spread it out fully.
. Keep the electric blanket stored carefully over the summer months - refer to the manufacturer's instructions on how best to do this.
. Some electric blankets are designed not to be washed - always check the manufacturer's instructions.
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