Free testing scheme highlights dangers of electric blankets
A free testing scheme to ensure Darlington residents are using safe electric blankets saw a 20% failure rate during this year’s event.
Thirteen blankets were destroyed and their owners offered a free replacement, bring the number of unsafe blankets found in the 15 years of the scheme to 650.
The testing is carried out each September on behalf of Darlington Borough Council’s Trading Standards team, part of the Community Safety team, and Age UK North Yorkshire and Darlington.
Shaun Trevor, of Darlington Trading Standards, said: “Electric blankets are a source of great comfort to many during the winter months but we cannot stress enough the importance of having these blankets checked regularly.
“Despite testing being run for many years now we still find a large percentage of blankets failing each year. Thanks to our partners Age UK North Yorkshire & Darlington and also County Durham and Darlington Fire and Rescue Service for helping make the event the success it was.”
Andrew Allison, the council’s Community Resilience Officer said: “This is a great initiative that genuinely makes our communities safer by getting potentially dangerous items out of people’s homes.
“The fire service will now be offering advice and fitting free smoke alarms in 17 properties, where people were concerned about fire safety, as part of their Safe and Wellbeing visits.
“Information was also available from the police in relation to doorstep crime, online scams and fraud, so it was a real team effort.”
The testing has again highlighted that many people are still unknowingly using potentially lethal appliances in their homes. Electrical related fires account for almost half of the accidental domestic fires in the UK.
Councillor Chris McEwan, cabinet member for economy and regeneration, said: “This free testing is invaluable and saves lives as many people do not consider the potential dangers of using an electric blanket, especially an old or damaged one.
“I am pleased to see Trading Standards and Age UK North Yorkshire and Darlington working together yet again to bring this worthwhile and valued safety project to the town.”
Anyone who missed this year’s testing event and who may have concerns about an electric blanket is advised to have it checked over by a qualified electrician.