Residents of Haverhill and surrouding villages are being urged to have their electric blankets tested free of charge as part of a Suffolk-wide initiative to ensure they are fault free.
Suffolk Fire and Rescue Service, Suffolk Trading Standards and Age UK Suffolk are encouraging people to drop their blankets off at Haverhill Fire Station for testing.
They can be dropped off on Monday, September 16 between 1pm and 3pm and collected on Monday, October 7 from 1pm to 3pm.
In the last three years the Fire and Rescue Service and Trading Standards have tested over 1,200 electric blankets. Of those tested, 270 were found to be potentially lethal and destroyed.
Blankets should be tested routinely every three years and should not be used at all if they show any of the following tell-tale danger signs:
• Fraying fabric
• Scorch marks
• Exposed elements
• Creasing or folding
• Damp patches
• Tie tapes damaged or missing
• Worn flex
• Loose connections
The BEAB (British Electrotechnical Approvals Board) safety mark must also be checked to ensure it is up to date. The old mark, which means the blanket is more than ten years old, is a round symbol. The new sign shows white capital letters on a black background.
In addition to this information, residents are being urged:
•Never to fold electric blankets – as the wiring inside them needs to be protected by storing them flat or rolled up
•Never to leave an electric blanket switched on all night, unless it is thermostatically controlled so it can be used all night
•Never to use hot water bottles in the same bed as an electric blanket, even if the blanket is switched off
Councillor Colin Spence, Suffolk County Council’s cabinet member for public protection, said; “Appliances which are not maintained could easily start a fire, destroy homes and cost lives.
“Before the cold weather is upon us, it is important to take advantage of this free testing and to book an appointment for your own safety and peace of mind, especially if your blanket is over three years old.
“It is a huge concern that there are still old electric blankets out there in homes across Suffolk which may not be safe for use and I would encourage anyone with any concerns to come along to one of our testing days.”