Warwickshire County Council Trading Standards Service carried out safety tests on over 350 electric blankets and small electrical appliances as part of this year’s free electric blanket campaign, an increase on last year’s figures.
Trading Standards Officers and an expert electrical engineer tested 288 electric blankets and 63 other small electrical appliances such as kettles, fan heaters, Christmas tree lights and irons.
Faults were identified in one in every three electrical blankets and almost a quarter of small electrical appliances. Some had faulty switches or damage to internal wiring, were the subject of product recalls or were so old they didn’t have any overheat protection designed to stop them catching fire if a fault occurs.
Warwickshire County Councillor Howard Roberts, Portfolio Holder for Community Safety said:
“I’m delighted that so many Warwickshire residents have been able to take advantage of our free electric blanket and small appliance safety testing service this year.”
“Faulty electrical devices are a contributory factor in many house fires and I’m pleased that through this service we have been able to both give residents confidence that their appliances are safe and remove unsafe electrical products from people’s homes.”
The electric blanket testing campaign has now finished but owners can check the safety of their own electric blankets by looking for the following warning signs:
- the fabric is worn or frayed
- there are scorch marks anywhere
- the tie tapes are damaged or missing
- the flex is worn or damaged
- any connections are loose
Remember older blankets in regular use are much more likely to have one or more of the above faults. If your electric blanket is more than 10 years old, industry guidelines suggest you should replace it. An old BEAB safety mark (a round symbol) is an indication that the blanket is more than ten years old.
Similar visual checks can be made to small electrical appliances. Look out for:
- damage to the lead including fraying, cuts or heavy scuffing
- damage to the plug, e.g. to the cover or bent pins
- tape applied to the lead to join leads together;
- coloured wires visible where the lead joins the plug (the cable is not being gripped where it enters the plug)
- damage to the outer cover of the equipment itself, including loose parts or screws
- signs of overheating, such as burn marks or staining on the plug, lead or piece of equipment
- equipment that has been used or stored in unsuitable conditions, such as wet or dusty environments or where water spills are possible; and
- cables trapped under furniture or in floor boxes.
For more electrical fire safety tips, please visit: warwickshire.gov.uk/safety-and-crime/fire-safety/electrical-fire-safety
Warwickshire Trading Standards Service would like to thank Warwickshire Library and Information Service, Warwickshire Fire and Rescue Service, Warwick District Council and Briarscroft for the use of their premises.