Electric blankets cause 5,000 fires a year

As the temperature drops many of us will reach for our trusted electric blanket to ensure we stay toasty warm at night, especially the elderly who are more susceptible to the cold. But electric blanket fires account for more than 5,000 household fires a year, so before you put yours on your bed, take a few moments to check it over thoroughly.

Woman sleeping in bed

If well kept and stored safely, an electric blanket can last for many many years, but warning signs that it may need replacing include:

• Fraying fabric
• Scorch marks
• Exposed elements
• Creasing or folding
• Soiling
• Damp patches
• Tie tapes damaged or missing
• Worn flex
• Loose connections

It is recommended to replace your electric blanket at least every ten years. Never buy a secondhand one, and always look for the British or European standard with a safety certification mark.

Use your electric blanket safely

• Always follow the instructions on your electric blanket.
• Never use an electric underblanket as an electric overblanket, and vice versa.
• Keep all blankets flat.
• Tie electric underblankets to the bed or mattress – this stops them slipping and creasing, which could damage them.
• Only leave a blanket switched on all night if it has thermostatic controls for safe all-night use. Otherwise switch it off and disconnect it before you get into bed.
• Don’t get blankets wet, and if your blanket does get wet, don’t use it. Never switch it on to dry it.
• Make sure your electric blanket is checked by a competent electrician at least every three years.

If in doubt – throw it out!

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