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Oxfordshire County Council

Oxford,
22
August
2016
|
16:03
Europe/London

It may still be Summer – but book now to get your electric blanket checked before Winter

During the warmer August weather one of the last things people are likely to be thinking about is their electric blanket,

However now is the perfect time to book your blanket in for a free check in October.

Oxfordshire County Council’s Fire & Rescue Service and Trading Standards are urging electric blanket owners to get their blankets tested free of charge ahead of the approaching colder months.

Testing electric blankets annually is important as all electrical systems have the potential to go wrong. In 2015 a total of 22 per cent of the electric blankets failed the safety test and were declared unsafe to use.

They can be perfectly safe to use provided they are in good condition and have the necessary overheating safeguards incorporated into the design.

Station Manager Chris Barber of Oxfordshire County Council’s Fire and Rescue Service said: “Like any other piece of electrical equipment, it is vitally important that electric blankets remain in safe working order.”

“There are a variety of electric blankets including under-blankets and over-blankets, 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”.

How to book

Testing is by pre-booked appointment only, strictly on a first come, first served basis. If you would like to get your electric blanket tested please 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 the following different locations around the county:

  • Monday 3rd - Oxford

  • Tuesday 4th - Banbury

  • Wednesday 5th - Wallingford

  • Thursday 6th - Abingdon

  • Friday 7th - Witney

  • Monday 17th - Wantage

  • Tuesday 18th - Bicester

  • Wednesday 19th - Henley

  • Thursday 20th - Oxford

  • Friday 21st - Chipping Norton

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.

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.

    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

  • 2011 – 911 blankets tested, 322 blankets failed, 36% failure rate

  • 2012 – 903 blankets tested, 314 blankets failed, 35% failure rate

  • 2013 – 806 blankets tested, 191 blankets failed, 24% failure rate

  • 2014 – 779 blankets tested, 189 blankets failed, 24% failure rate

  • 2015 – 737 blankets tested, 162 blankets failed, 22% failure rate

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