West Oxfordshire residents are being urged to get their electric blankets as part of a joint home safety scheme run by West Oxfordshire District Council and Oxfordshire County Council
Free safety checks are taking place on 11th September in Witney and 23rd October in Chipping Norton. Bookings can be made online at www.westoxon.gov.uk or by telephoning 01993 861381.
Last year 176 blankets were tested in the district and a massive 40% failed the check.
Cllr David Harvey, Cabinet Member for the Environment said, "I hope that people will take advantage of this annual free testing service. Last year, the fact that such a high number were unsafe is extremely worrying. Faulty blankets are a common cause of fires and the best advice for anyone with a blanket that is more than 10 years old, or showing signs of wear, is to get a new one."
Old or damaged electric blankets cause more than 5,000 fires a year in the UK. Each year around 20 people are killed and 100 injured as a result of such fires. Research has shown that blankets that are 10 years old, or older, are responsible for 99% of these fires.
The danger signs are:
- Worn or frayed fabric
- Scorch marks
- Tie tapes (if originally fitted) damaged or missing
- Flex worn or damaged
- Loose electrical connections
- Damaged or displaced heating wires (hold the blanket up to the light to check)
It is advised to always buy new and look out for a European Certification Mark such as the new BEAB safety mark.
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