Electric Blanket Safety
Electric Blanket Safety
Winter’s looming ominously ahead. Before you arm yourself with an electric blanket, take the time to get it checked, ready for the cold British months.
The number of people who own electric blankets has dramatically dropped in recent years, as an increasing number of people have central heating and double glazed windows.
The people most likely to own an electric blanket are the elderly and those on a low income household, which identifies two risk groups already
The elderly are specifically at risk as they are much more likely to be injured if a fire occurs.
Choosing an electric blanket
When buying an electric blanket, make sure you get one from a reliable source.
It’s always best to opt for one with an overheat protection system.
Before buying, check that it has the new BEAB safety mark. It is square, with white text on a black background. If you see this symbol, you know that the blanket has been independently tested and meets the latest UK and European safety standards.
Make sure you don’t buy an electric blanket with the old BEAB safety mark, which is a round symbol. Only blankets that are 10 years old or newer will have the new symbol.
Never buy a second hand electric blanket. You have no way of truly knowing how old it is and when it will need replacing.
Storing your electric blanket
Make sure you always roll your electric blanket, rather than folding it.
Folding your electric blanket can damage the wiring.
Alternatively, you can store your electric blanket on a spare bed, so it is constantly laid flat.
Electric underblankets can be left on your bed all year round, if this is comfortable for you.
Maintaining your electric blanket
Electric blankets should be serviced every 3 years. You can contact the electric blanket manufacturer, or the shop where you purchased it from, for advice. You could also contact your local trading standards department.
Many fire departments across the UK will service electric blankets for free. Some will even provide replacements for high risk groups.
- Follow the instructions
- Keep all blankets flat
- Tie electric under-blankets to the bed or mattress to stop them from slipping or creasing
- Turn blankets off before getting into bed, unless they have a thermostatic control
- Use an electric underblanket as an electric overblanket, and vice versa
- Get blankets wet
- Use a blanket that is wet
- Try to dry a wet blanket by switching it on
When to replace
You should replace your electric blanket every 10 years, as a bare minimum.
If you are at all worried about the condition of your electric blanket, replace it.
It’s important to immediately get your electric blanket serviced or replaced if you notice:
- Fraying fabric
- Scorch marks
- Exposed elements
- Creasing or folding
- Damp patches
- Damaged or missing tie tapes
- Worn flex
- Loose connections
Get more guidelines on taking care of electrical appliances here.
photo credit: Byrnesyliam
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