Council advises safety first when it comes to electric blankets

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The miserable summer weather will have encouraged many people to pull out their electric blankets from the back of a cupboard even earlier than normal this year - and South Ayrshire Council is urging residents to make safety a priority.

The council is offering free electric blanket safety checks following the initiative’s success in 2011 - in which 70 percent of the blankets tested were passed.

National fire statistics show that electric blankets account for over 5000 fires a year in the home, with blankets over 10 years old posing a particular danger. You can reduce the risk of fire by being aware of some basic electric blanket danger signs − fraying fabric, scorch marks, exposed elements, and worn flex or loose connections. Any telltale signs should not be ignored.

Councillor John McDowall, Sustainability and Environment Portfolio Holder for the Council, said: “I would encourage consumers to take advantage of this free, valuable service available to people from South Ayrshire communities, which will no doubt provide great peace of mind to residents, in particular for older people and vulnerable groups. These checks are imperative to ensure their safety and will provide peace of mind for this coming winter.”

In general, it is recommended that blankets are checked at least every 3 years and they should not be used if there is any doubt about their safety.

On Thursday August 23, between 10am and 3pm, electric blankets can be dropped off at the Trading Standards Advice and Intervention Centre, 5-7 River Terrace, Ayr. There will also be drop off points throughout South Ayrshire at the Council Housing Offices, 2-6 The Cross, Prestwick; Municipal Buildings, South Beach, Troon; 64 High Street, Maybole and 19 Knockcushan Street, Girvan.

The blankets will then be tested at the Council’s Trading Standards testing facility and ready for collection at the same drop off point on Friday August 31 between 10am and 3pm. The owners will be advised of the safety of their blanket and of any faults found.

If you have concerns regarding any safety issues or wishes further information to contact the Council’s Trading Standards Team at 5-7 River Terrace, Ayr, telephone 01292 616060.