Issued By
Cumbria County Council

1 in 3 SECOND HAND ELECTRIC BLANKETS FAIL SAFETY TESTS

These were the results of the Electric Blanket Testing Event held during the week of 15th to 20th September 2003 by Cumbria Trading Standards.

279 Electric Blankets initially failed out of the 617 tested. Luckily they were able to make 79 of the 279 blankets, which failed, safe for use, following minor repairs.

The event was run in partnership with care agencies and other voluntary groups across the county with an emphasis on targeting the elderly and disabled users.

Faulty blankets present a risk of causing house fires and personal injury. Older people and those on low incomes are generally the main users of electric blankets. Persons over 60 years of age are most at risk from blanket related fires or electrocution.

Phil Ashcroft, Head of Trading Standards, said

“1 in 3 is too high a failure rate, but I am pleased that this figure is better than in previous years.

People still need to be aware that blankets can be dangerous if not correctly maintained and regularly checked for faults.

If you have elderly friends or relatives, check that their electric blankets do not show obvious danger signs, such as exposed elements, scorch marks or broken controls”.


Notes for editor

1. See attached statistics.

2. For more information on this press release, please contact Bill Procter (01539 773573) or
Pat Thomas (01539 773591)

Electric Blanket Testing 15-20 September 2003

A total of 617 blankets were tested during the six days. Initially, 279 failed (45%) and 338 were found to be correct (55%).

From the 279 that failed, 79 were made safe by the fitting of replacement plugs, fuses and correction of basic wiring defects.

The breakdown by District Council areas were as follows:

  Tested
Failed
Correct
Barrow
104
52
(50%)
52
(50%)
 
Copeland
130
47
(36%)
83
(64%)
 
Eden
121
50
(41%)
71
(59%)
 
Allerdale
72
42
(58%)
30
(42%)
 
Carlisle
71
32
(45%)
39
(55%)
 
South Lakeland
119
56
(47%)
63
(53%)
 
TOTAL TESTED
617
No Failed
279
(45%)
No Correct
338
(55%)

OVERALL FAILURES 200 (32%) – these blankets were unsafe and should not have been in use. They were not repairable.

The overall failure rate compared with 2002 was much improved. In 2002, 62% of the blankets failed, compared with 32% this year.

This is the first year since 1998 that there has been a significant reduction in the number of failures. This is encouraging because the event is aimed at the vulnerable members of the community.