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Electric Blanket Advice

Electric Blanket Advice

In the UK, Electric Blankets cause over 5,000 fires in the home each year (www.fireservice.co.uk). While they are a handy way for people to feel warm there are a number of safety implications that if unchecked increase the risk of a fire. 

Northern Ireland Fire & Rescue Service recommend replacing EB once they reach 10 years old and to be alert to the following Danger Signs as could be unsafe to use:

  • Scorch marks or discolouration areas on the fabric
  • Worn or frayed fabric, or wires visible through the fabric
  • Damage to the power cable between the plug and the blanket’s controller or between the control and the blanket
  • The control makes a buzzing sound when switched on or gives off a scorching smell
  • Damage or overheating where the electrical cable plugs into the blanket.

Electric Blanket Exchange Events

To help address this issue Antrim & Newtownabbey Borough Council held Electric Blanket exchange events in November and December 2023. 

Alternatives to Electric Blankets in the form of cordless Electric Hot Water Bottles and fleece fitted bedsheets were offered to residents who gave up their old Electric Blankets for recycling.

Over the two events in Antrim and Newtownabbey, 163 old Electric Blankets were exchanged.

If using an electric blanket here are some safety tips:

  • Follow the manufacturer’s instructions carefully and use the blanket only for the intended purpose, Over-blankets positioned above the occupant, Under-blankets positioned under the occupant.
  • Do not use the blanket whilst it is still folded, rucked or creased.  Ensure under blankets are kept flat on the bed by using the tie-tapes or fixing provided.
  • Never use hot water bottles in bed along with an electric blanket and never touch the blanket with wet hands or feet.
  • Under-blankets should not be used on adjustable beds so that the blanket and cord do not become trapped and damaged in the hinges or moving parts.
  • Electric blankets should not be used for infants or by a person who may have a condition that makes them insensitive to heat.  People with pacemakers fitted should avoid using heated bedding for all night use.
  • When not in use store an electric blanket flat if possible (e.g. on a spare bed) or loosely rolled (never folded tightly).  Do not place other objects on top of the stored blanket.
  • Follow manufacturer’s instructions when cleaning blankets.  Never switch a blanket on to dry it out!

For more information about Electric Blanket Safety or to book a Home Safety Check contact T. 028 9034 0160 or E. envhealth@antrimandnewtownabbey.gov.uk