Are you a closet electric blanket owner?

20 November 2008

Electric Blanket safety

It could be suburbia’s best kept secret but 1 in 5 of us will be snuggling up with an electric blanket this winter, according to latest research by the Electrical Safety Council. But, with more than 160 house fires every year in the UK caused by electric blankets, the charity is urging blanket owners to do a few simple checks before bedding down, to ensure that their blanket is safe.

“An electric blanket is a great way to keep warm over the winter months,” says Phil Buckle of the Electrical Safety Council. “But, tragically fires caused by faulty electric blankets do occur. It’s crucial that people visually check their blanket regularly for signs of wear and damage and replace it with a new blanket if necessary.”

And it’s not just worn or faulty electric blankets that pose a risk. The Electrical Safety Council found that more than two thirds of blanket owners (69%) said they had left their blanket switched on by mistake, causing a risk of fire through overheating. One in four people had spilt a drink on their blanket and one in ten admitted to using a hot water bottle at the same time as an electric blanket. This is extremely dangerous as water and electricity are a lethal combination.

“Our research highlighted to us that many people are using blankets that are old and potentially unsafe and many people just aren’t aware of the dangers. Certainly if your electric blanket is more than 10 years old we would advise you to consider replacing it. And of course you should always follow the manufacturer’s instructions carefully when using your blanket.”

The Electrical Safety Council has the following safety advice:

  • To ensure your electric blanket is safe to use, check it regularly for signs of wear or damage
  • Never use an electric blanket with scorch marks or exposed elements
  • Check the plug and cord for any signs of wear or damage
  • Never use an electric blanket if it is wet or creased and do not switch it on to dry it out
  • Never use the electric blanket folded – always spread it out fully
  • Never use a hot water bottle and an electric blanket together in the same bed
  • Make sure the power is turned off at the wall and the electric blanket is unplugged if not in use
  • Some electric blankets are not designed to be washed - always check the manufacturer’s instructions
  • Keep the electric blanket stored carefully - refer to the manufacturer’s instructions on how best to do this
  • If an electric blanket is more than 10 years old, consider buying a new one. Your local council should be able to advise how to dispose of your old blanket safely
  • Always buy new – second hand electric blankets may not be safe
  • Always read the manufacturer’s instructions carefully and follow them

For further information contact