Electric blanket safety
Electric blankets – safe use
Colder weather can bring the need to use electric blankets to keep warm. Use these guidelines to reduce the risk of fire and check that your blankets meet safety standards.
When choosing your electric blanket, you should buy it from a reliable source. Check that it has a UK safety standard mark. This is a symbol that means the blanket has been independently tested and meets the latest UK and European safety standards. The examples on the right show the type of symbols to look for.
Before you use your blanket, make sure that it - or its power cable - doesn’t show any of the following danger signs:
- scorch marks or discoloration areas are visible on the fabric of the blanket;
- wires are visible or poking through the fabric;
- fabric is frayed or worn;
- there is damage to the power cable between the plug and the blanket’s control mechanism or between the control and the blanket;
- the control makes a buzzing sound when switched on or gives off a scorching smell;
- the blanket’s connector - where the electrical cable plugs into the blanket - is damaged or over-heating.
Make sure your blanket is tested by an expert at least every three years.
If you are in any doubt about your blanket, replace it with a new one.
Storing your electric blanket
Even when your blanket is not in use, you can leave it on the bed all year round or place it flat on a spare bed. If you put the blanket away, it should be stored as the manufacturer recommends or as follows:
- loosely fold or roll it in a towel or plastic bag and store the blanket in a cool dry place;
- let the blanket cool down before folding;
- don’t use any moth-proofing chemicals;
- don’t place heavy items on top of the blanket while it is being stored.
Here are some further safety tips:
- always buy new when choosing an electric blanket - never buy second hand blankets, they may not be safe and you can’t be sure they meet current safety requirements;
- always read and follow the manufacturer’s instructions before use;
- examine your blanket regularly for signs of wear or damage;
- never use an electric underblanket as an overblanket (or vice versa);
- don’t use the blanket while it’s still folded or creased;
- don’t use a hot water bottle at the same time as using your electric blanket;
- don’t touch the blanket if you have wet hands or feet, and never use the blanket if it’s wet or damp;
- don't insert or use pins to hold the blanket in place on the bed.
Electric blanket testing
The Community Safety Partnership hold electric blanket testing events for Fife residents (see What's On for details of upcoming events).
Jointly led by Enterprise, Planning & Protective Services and the Scottish Fire & Rescue Service, events are held around Fife throughout the year in local community halls. You can bring your blankets along to have a free electrical safety test carried out. Details will appear in the press before each event.
Once the test is complete, customers are advised if their blanket is safe to continue using, or whether we consider it to be unsafe to use.
The most common reason blankets fail is that due to their age, a fault has developed in the wiring or they don’t have an overheat protection system found in newer blankets.
Electric blankets cannot be tested at any other time.
Blankets which fail the safety test at each event are collected and handed over to a textile recycling company. They are cleaned, have the elements stripped out and re-used as a normal blanket or shredded for filling purposes.
Consumer and Business Education
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