Warning after half of electric blankets fail safety checks in Rugby

The checks took place at Rugby library
The checks took place at Rugby library
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Nearly half of all electric blankets failed safety tests when inspected in Rugby recently.

Of 68 that were checked, 29 failed - meaning that they might have put their owners at risk had they been used. The blankets in question have now been removed from use.

Cllr Les Caborn, the county councillor responsible for community safety, said: “Increasingly we are finding that many of the electric blankets we are failing are simply too old to be used safely.

“Experts recommend that electric blankets should be replaced after ten years, but we found many that were double that age or older and still in regular use.”

“Old electric blankets, even if they are still working carry an increased fire hazard risk because as blankets age, the unseen wiring within them will deteriorate.”

Cllr Richard Chattaway, chair of the council’s overview and scrutiny committee, added: “It’s great news that the Trading Standards Service has been able to remove so many old and dangerous electric blankets from use, protecting Warwickshire residents.”

Old electric blankets are much more likely to develop faults that can lead to fires. Electric blankets wear with use, leading to the wiring becoming broken or kinked. This can cause hotspots to develop, raising the risk of fire and electrocution.

Many very old blankets have no over-heat protection, a feature built in to new blankets to prevent them from overheating and catching fire.

The electric blanket testing campaign has now finished but owners can check the safety of their own electric blankets by looking for the following warning signs:

* the fabric is worn or frayed

* there are scorch marks anywhere

* the tie tapes are damaged or missing

* the flex is worn or damaged

* many connections are loose

Older blankets in regular use are much more likely to have one or more of the above faults. If your electric blanket is more than ten years old, industry guidelines suggest you should replace it. An old BEAB safety mark (a round symbol) is an indication that the blanket is more than ten years old.

For more information visit http://www.warwickshire.gov.uk/electricblanket.