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Electric Blanket Safety
- Each year 20 people are killed and over 250 injured in blanket fires.
- Faulty blankets cause more than 1,000 house fires a year.
- Research has shown that electric blankets ten years old (or older) still in use in homes in Britain are responsible for 99% of the fires caused by electric blankets.
Do you have an electric blanket? Do you know an elderly person who has one? Has the blanket been checked for safety lately?
Make sure you follow the manufacturer's guidelines regarding the use, maintenance and servicing of electric blankets. If you know of an elderly person who uses one, help to ensure that they do the same.
- Always buy new. Second-hand blankets may not be safe.
- Look out for the European certification mark, such as the new British Electrotechnical Approvals Board (BEAB) safety mark on the blanket and packaging. This will mean it conforms to the latest Europen safety standards.
- Make sure the blanket has an overheating protection system - this offers an additional level of safety. (All new blankets now have this feature).
- Always read the instructions carefully - and follow them.
- Older underblankets, designed only for pre-heating, must be switched off and disconnected before getting into bed.
- Never use an underblanket as an overblanket.
- Make sure the underblanket is kept flat. Tie it to the mattress where appropriate.
- Never use hot water bottles in the same bed as an electric blanket.
- Never use the blanket if it is wet or creased.
- Never switch it on to dry it out.
- Only leave a blanket switched on all night if it has thermostatic controls for safe all-night use.
- An underblanket can be left tied to the bed all year round if you wish.
- To store an overblanket for the summer, roll it or fold it with as few creases as possible and keep it in a dry place.
- Store seperately from other bedding if possible, or keep on top to avoid it being creased and damaged.
- Either type of blanket can be stored by putting it on a spare bed - but make sure it stays dry and flat.
Have the blanket checked or replace it if:
7,338 electric blankets have been checked during the seven-year period 2000 to 2006.
2,952 failed the test and were removed from use, preventing 2,952 possible fires that had the potential to cause injury and death.
Electric blanket testing
Make sure your blanket is tested by an expert at least every three years.
A testing service is provided by the Hampshire, Southampton and Portsmouth Trading Standards Departments during a two week period each year, usually in September and October.
Electric blankets are not tested at any other time.
View electric blanket testing information...
Further information on electric blanket safety.
Did you know
The risk of dying in a fire for people over 65 is over twice as high as the average for all ages and these risks increase dramatically if the person lives alone, smokes, drinks or has a physical and/or learning disability.
Find out more:
To help us raise awareness of this campaign, include a link to our 'christmas card' in an email to your family, friends and colleagues, or share the link on social media: share our seasonal safety message.