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15
September
2015
|
13:10
Europe/London

Free electric blanket testing near you

Free tests will be available in October at 10 venues throughout Oxfordshire .

David Heycock, Oxfordshire County Council Fire & Rescue Service Home and Community Safety Manager said: “Like any other piece of electrical equipment, it is vitally important that electric blankets remain in safe working order, last year almost a quarter of electric blankets failed the test and were deemed unfit to use.

“If the condition of the blanket is allowed to deteriorate there is the possibility of electric shocks, electrical burns, which can be painful and cause permanent damage or fires, which can be devastating or even fatal.

“There are a variety of electric blankets including underblankets and overblankets, pre-heating blankets and all-night blankets. Whichever type you use we urge you to take up the free electrical safety checking service to make sure your blanket is safe to use this winter”.

Testing is by pre-booked appointment only, strictly on a first come, first served basis.

Anyone wanting  to get an electric blanket tested should call Trading Standards on 01865 815 000 option 4 to arrange an appointment or email communityengagement@oxfordshire.gov.uk.

The electric blanket testing team will be visiting venues in  the following different locations around the county and have a target of 100 tests a day:

  • Monday 5 October - Oxford
  • Tuesday 6 October - Wallingford
  • Wednesday 7 October - Banbury
  • Thursday 8 October - Abingdon
  • Friday 9 October - Witney
  • Monday 19 October - Oxford
  • Tuesday 20 October - Bicester
  • Wednesday 21 October - Thame
  • Thursday 22 October - Wantage
  • Friday 23 October - Chipping Norton

David added:  “Most failures are due to the age of the blanket and we try to retain any blankets over 10 years old.

“We will be offering a collection and delivery service this year for those members of the community who are housebound and unable to get to the testing venues.

Why do electric blankets fail their test?

  • because they were over 10 years old and had no safety features built into the controller
  • because of a leakage of voltage to the surface of the blanket
  • the elements were able to move around inside the blanket with the potential to rub together and cause a short circuit
  • elements were not secured within the blanket and were exposed to the surface
  • power lead fasteners were broken and unable to be secured
  • the surface of the blanket was worn, exposing the elements.

Make sure you stay safe by ensuring that your under blanket is secured to the bed using the supplied safety ties which prevent the blanket from moving and damaging the elements. When the blanket is not in use, store it flat or, if it must be folded, ensure that it is not folded too tightly.

Electric Blanket Testing is being supported by, Oxfordshire County Council Fire & Rescue Service and Trading Standards, Cherwell District Council, West Oxfordshire District Council, Oxford City Council, South Oxfordshire District Council, Vale of White Horse District Council, Age UK, Witney Rotary Club, and Waitrose Wantage.

Ends

Notes to editors:

  • This advice is part of Oxfordshire County Council’s Fire and Rescue Service’s 365alive initiative.
  • For more information about the initiative, please visit www.365alive.co.uk
  • Photo opportunities can be arranged at any of the above venues.

 

Data

  • 2010 – 815 blankets tested, 321 blankets failed, 39% failure rate
  • 2011 – 911 blankets tested, 322 blankets failed, 36% failure rate
  • 2012 – 903 blankets tested, 314 blankets failed, 35% failure rate
  • 2013 – 806 blankets tested, 314 blankets failed, 24% failure rate
  • 2014 – 903 blankets tested, 314 blankets failed, 24% failure rate

 

 

Over the years the age of blankets still  in use has been reduced due to the number the fire and rescue service have disposed of.

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