Free electric blanket safety checks offered across Oxfordshire
Free checks via Oxfordshire County Council's Fire and Rescue Service; its Trading Standards team and partners are available to book at locations throughout Oxfordshire to help ensure county residents have a safe and warm winter.
Faulty electric blankets can cause electric shocks, electrical burns, which can cause permanent damage to skin, or fires, which can result in extensive damage or even fatalities. In recent years tests found that a third or more of blankets did not meet strict safety requirements.
Signs that electric blankets are hazardous
- If they are over ten years old and don't have safety features built into the controller
- Leakage of voltage to the surface of the blanket
- The elements are able to move around inside the blanket with the potential to rub together and cause a short circuit
- Elements not being secured within the blanket and exposed to the surface
- Power lead fasteners broken are unable to be secured
- The surface of the blanket is worn, exposing the elements
The advice is part of 365alive, an Oxfordshire Fire and Rescue Service initiative designed to raise awareness and a safer community via messaging and education.
Stuart Garner, Oxfordshire County Council Fire and Rescue Service’s 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, as on average each year almost a third of blankets fail the test.
“There are a variety of electric blankets including under-blankets and over-blankets, pre-heating blankets and all-night blankets. Whichever type are used we urge people to take up the free electrical safety checking service to make sure their blanket is safe to use this winter."
Be safe, not sorry
Councillor Rodney Rose, the deputy leader of Oxfordshire County Council who also has Cabinet responsibility for the Fire and Rescue Service and Trading Standards, said: “I urge people to book their place at one of the testing days. As the cold winter months approach, many people will be dusting off their electric blankets ready for use.
"If the condition of the blanket is allowed to deteriorate there is the possibility that it could have become faulty, which could lead to injury and fire.
“We want to ensure that they are still safe for use, so come along and encourage any elderly neighbours to attend too. It is better to be safe than sorry.”
How to book
Testing is by pre-booked appointment only, strictly on a first come, first served basis. If people would like to get their electric blanket tested in locations other than Witney and Chipping Norton they should call Oxfordshire County Council’s Trading Standards team on 0845 051 0845 option 4 to arrange an appointment or email: firstname.lastname@example.org
For those residents wishing to get their blankets checked in either Witney or Chipping Norton, they should call West Oxfordshire District Council on 01993 861000 to arrange a time.
The electric blanket testing team will be visiting the following locations around the county:
- Cutteslowe, Oxford - Monday 6 October
- Wallingford – Tuesday 7 October
- Banbury - Wednesday 8 October
- Abingdon - Thursday 9 October
- Witney - Friday 10 October
- Blackbird Leys, Oxford - Monday 20 October
- Bicester - Tuesday 21 October
- Thame - Wednesday 22 October
- Wantage - Thursday 23 October
- Chipping Norton - Friday 24 October
The electric blanket test sessions are being supported by Oxfordshire County Council's Fire and Rescue Service and its Trading Standards team, Age UK Oxfordshire, Cherwell District Council, West Oxfordshire District Council, Oxford City Council, Green Square, Witney Rotary Club and Waitrose.
How many blankets failed safety tests in previous years?