THERE is free electric blanket testing on offer at Selsey Fire Station on Thursday (January 29) from 9.30am-4pm.
Jackie Boyle, community fire safety officer for West Sussex Fire and Rescue Service, said it was vital people checked their blankets were not faulty, as there were ‘potentially devastating consequences’ if they caught fire.
“Nationally, there are around 1000 fires caused by unsafe electric blankets each year and sadly, some people have lost their lives,” she said.
West Sussex Fire and Rescue Service held more than a dozen free testing events around the county between May and December. 166 of the 412 electric blankets tested were found to be potentially dangerous.
“We saw a number of very old electric blankets brought in to be tested,” she said. “Blankets over ten years old are a particular concern because they don’t have the 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. We’d recommend anyone with an electric blanket over ten years old to replace it.
“We are planning more safety testing events throughout this year and would encourage anyone who hasn’t had their electric blanket tested in the last two years to take up a free test. Elderly people, or those who are less mobile, can be more vulnerable so we’d urge those caring for older people to consider getting blankets tested on their behalf.”
To find the nearest testing venue or for advice on the safe use of electric blankets call 0845 872 9719 or visit www.westsussex.gov.uk/fire.