Warning over blanket safety failures

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High number of blankets fail safety checks

Electric blanket testing in Fife this year saw a high number of blankets fail safety checks.

24 testing events were held in towns across Fife. 502 blankets were tested in total. 262 passed the test, with 240 (48%) considered to be unsafe.

Geoff Bates, Service Manager, Fife Council Protective Services, expresses his concern, “The results show that people are continuing to risk their safety by using old, unsafe blankets. Trading Standards has run blanket testing projects since 2004, but we still see blankets estimated to be around 40 years old brought for testing, that are still in use. This represents a serious safety issue.

Geoff adds, “This project will continue in 2014, thanks to continued funding from our partners. I hope Fifers will take the chance to bring their blankets along to be tested. Its free, it only takes a few minutes, but gives that extra peace of mind that you will be safe. Details will appear in the press when the project launches in the spring and at www.fifedirect.org.uk/electricblankets”.

John Dempsey from Scottish Fire & Rescue’s Community Safety Department adds, “Fire crews still attend house fires caused by electric blanket failures. All the blankets that failed had the potential to cause a fire. Acting on our advice, all these householders removed the unsafe blankets from their house which is a great bonus for the safety of the Fife community.

John continues, “One of the main reasons older blankets can be unsafe is that they don’t have overheat protection found in newer blankets. This safety system cuts power to the blanket in the event of a malfunction reducing the risk of it catching fire. Check the manufacturer’s instructions to see if your blanket meets the current safety standards and if in any doubt, bring it along for testing”.

The project is a joint initiative by Fife Council’s Enterprise, Planning & Protective Services, The Scottish Fire and Rescue Service & Fife Cares. Funding towards the project comes from the Electrical Safety Council and Scottish and Southern Energy plc.

Blankets which fail the safety test are handed over to a textile recycling company. They are cleaned, have the elements stripped out and either re-used as a normal blanket or shredded for filling purposes.