Electric blankets fail council safety tests

A FREE electric blanket testing session last week found more than half were faulty.

The Havering Council-organised testing session held at Roomes Stores, in Station Road, Upminster, saw 34 of a total 52 blankets tested fail last Tuesday.

Of those that failed, two relatively new blankets had been subject to a manufacturers recall and had faulty temperature controls which could have posed a fire risk. Another one that failed was more than 30 years old!

According to the fire service, electric blankets account for 5,000 fires across the country each year. It recommends residents should change their blankets every ten years.

Havering Council gives residents the opportunity to have their electric blankets tested every year to ensure they are working properly and safe.

Cllr Lesley Kelly, Cabinet Member for Public Protection, said: “This failure rate is concerning and suggests there may be many faulty blankets out in the community that are being used.

“Faulty blankets can catch fire while the person is asleep and sometimes cause electric shocks. If your blanket is more than ten years old then bin it. You can replace your blanket but can’t replace your life.”

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Follow these safety tips:

* Never buy a second hand electric blanket.

* Don’t fold electric blankets as it can damage the wiring – better to roll them.

* An old BEAB safety mark - a round symbol (the new sign is white capital letters on a black background). This means it is more than 10 years old

* Replace your blanket if it has: fraying fabric, exposed elements, worn flex, loose connections, or tie tapes damaged or missing.