One in three electric blankets examined at Wealden’s free testing sessions last week failed to meet safety standards.
“We are still seeing a worryingly high failure rate,” said Cllr Clare Dowling, Cabinet member for Public Health and Community Safety. 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.’’
She continued, “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.”
Electric blanket testing sessions were held at six venues across Wealden: Forest Row, Uckfield, Hailsham, Polegate, Crowborough and Heathfield. Many where held in the local community fire stations.
Wealden Borough Commander Mani Gilbert-King, from East Sussex 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. The sessions received funding from the Safer Wealden Partnership.