Electric blanket testing in Rathfriland and Banbridge

A SERIES of free ‘Electric Blanket Testing’ road shows are being held across the Southern Trust area.

Electric blankets cause over 800 fires in the UK each year, with nearly 20 deaths and 200 injuries. Most of the casualties are people aged over 60 years.

The next road shows will take place at Rathfriland Community Centre, Friday 7 October, 10am-4pm and Banbridge Fire Station, Thursday 27 October, 10am-4pm.

The aim of the road shows is to reduce the number of injuries and deaths caused by faulty and misused electric blankets.

Melanie McClements, Assistant Director for Promoting Wellbeing at the Southern Health and Social Care Trust, explains: “Last year 628 blankets were tested following a series of ‘Electric Blanket Testing’ road shows and 428 blankets (68%) failed the safety test carried out by an electrical engineer.

“It is because of these results that we have organised a further series of road shows this year. These sessions will provide free safety checks on electric blankets and give members of the public tips on their correct use.”

Nina Daly, Accident Prevention Officer at the Southern Trust’s Promoting Wellbeing Team said: “Injuries and fires often happen because people do not use or store their electric blankets properly and do not replace them or never have them serviced. People are often unaware that blankets become worn or damaged. It is therefore advised that electric blankets should be checked at least every three years”

Participants whose blankets fail the safety test will be given a £15.00 voucher towards buying a new one. It is worthwhile to replace a faulty blanket using the voucher as electric blankets are a very economical way of keeping warm in the winter months. Figures from the Energy Savings Trust show that it costs 1p to run an electric blanket for one hour.

This compares to portable convector heater which costs anywhere from 31p-45p per hour to run. Participants will also be able to ask for advice on home safety and general wellbeing issues from representatives attending on the day.

Mrs McClements concluded: “I would urge all those who use electric blankets to come along to the road shows and have their blankets checked professionally and for those whose blankets are more than 10 years old it is advisable to have them replaced immediately. Just because it is working doesn’t mean it is safe.”

If you would like to have your electric blanket tested, please book an appointment in advance of the road show by contacting the Promoting Wellbeing Team on (028) 3834 4973. It is advisable to book an appointment to avoid a lengthy wait.

For further information on the Electric Blanket Testing road shows contact Nina Daly, Southern Health and Social Care Trust on (028) 38311524.