Winter warmers

It may be cold outside but don’t take risks while trying to keep warm and cosy indoors. Here is some helpful advice from the fire service

As the cold weather spreads across the country, lots of us are getting our electric blankets out of the cupboard. Unfortunately these perennial favourites account for more than 5000 fires a year, so take a few sensible precautions before turning yours on.  

Check for damaged fabric, scorch marks and exposed elements. If the flex is worn or there are any loose connections, don’t use your blanket . If it has the old BEAB safety mark it is more than 10 years old and should be replaced – the life of an electric blanket is around 10 years so play it safe and treat yourself to a new one.

Don’t fold electric blankets – it can damage the wiring. Roll them up or keep them on a spare bed but make sure they are unplugged at the socket.

  • Always follow the instructions.
  • Never use an electric underblanket as an overblanket, and vice versa.
  • Tie electric underblankets to the bed or mattress to stop them slipping or creasing
  • Don’t leave your blanket switched on all night unless it is designed for safe all-night use. Switch it off and unplug it before you get into bed.
  • If your blanket gets wet, don’t use it - and don’t switch it on to dry it.

Get your electric blanket checked every three years. Ask the shop where you bought your electric blanket about testing and servicing, or contact the trading standards department at your local council – they often have free testing days.

More excellent safety advice is also available at www.fireservice.co.uk/safety