Old electric blankets could be shockers

YOU may not want to start thinking about the cold winter nights drawing in but East Dunbartonshire Council’s Trading Standards service is already planning ahead and is offering free safety checks for your electric blankets.

As part of its commitment to consumer safety, the authority will test blankets of the over 60s to ensure that they are not putting themselves at risk

The Trading Standards team have been given funding from the Electrical Safety Council to provide these tests and provide a voucher towards an alternative or a replacement if the blanket should fail, as part of an larger project focusing on electrical safety.

They will be collecting blankets from people’s homes between September 1 and 9 - and those who want to participate in the project should contact the team on 0141 578 8813 to arrange collection.

The testing will then be carried out on September 13 and 14, with blankets being returned after testing from Thursday, September 15 onwards.

Councillor Amanda Stewart, convener of the housing and community services committee, said: “This is an annual initiative which always proves popular with local residents, particularly older people.

“Last year a significant proportion of the blankets that were tested failed the checks. Worryingly a handful of these failures were serious failures resulting in the owners being advised to get rid of the blankets.

“About 1000 house fires in the UK every year are caused by faulty electric blankets, resulting in 20 deaths and 250 injuries with older people being most at risk.

“Clearly this council service is an important one that could help save lives.”

Clive Lewis from the Trading Standards team, added: “It is very easy to forget just how old your electric blanket is but it is generally accepted that you should not use one that is more than 10 years old.

“You should also check them regularly for frayed edges, scorch marks and loose electrical connections, and make sure that blankets are stored in a dry place.

“For many older people this may not be feasible so this is an ideal way for them to make sure they stay safe.”

Residents with concerns should contact Trading Standards on 0141 578 8813 or trading.standards@eastdunbarton.gov.uk