Two out of five blankets at risk

Media Release : 17 October 2011

Two out of every five electric blankets tested could have put lives at risk, examiners found during Wealden Electric Blanket Testing sessions held this month.

The owners have been advised not to use them again.

"I am very glad so many people came forward to have their electric blankets tested and to benefit from the wide range of advice on offer from different public organisations," said Councillor Joanna Howell. "Those whose blankets failed the safety check will need to replace them but the risk of carrying on using a faulty electric blanket does not bear thinking of."

Over the past ten years, there have been 27 serious house fires as a result of faulty electric blankets in East Sussex. 

Out of the 240 blankets tested during three days of sessions across  Wealden, 40 per cent of the blankets were found to be faulty. Sessions were held at Hailsham, Polegate, Uckfield, Crowborough, Heathfield and Ninfield.  A wide range of advice was also on offer from organisations including the Independent Living Service, Trading Standards, Citizens Advice, East Sussex Fire and Rescue Service, Sussex Police, The Link, Wealden's Benefits Service, Active Play, Wealden Energy Efficiency, Freedom Leisure and the Sussex Credit Union.

It was well appreciated by people who came along:

"Good service - I have enjoyed my afternoon and learnt so much!" said one attendee.

"What a marvellous service - it could save someone's house from going up in smoke!" said another.

Where  older people were unable to bring their blankets to a session, Council staff arranged, where practical, to pick up the blankets in their way to work.  Electric Blanket Testing sessions were also held during the same week in Lewes, Newhaven and Seaford.  Wealden District Council worked with colleagues in Lewes to help co-ordinate testing opportunities for residents.

If residents  have electric  blankets  that are showing signs of wear or the material is fraying, they should seek the advice of a local electrician.