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Free electric blanket testing today

PUBLISHED: 10:39 25 September 2001 | UPDATED: 10:34 03 March 2010

ARE you sleeping each night with a potential fire hazard on your bed?

Fire chiefs and trading standards officers fear many people could be doing so - especially if they have an older electric blanket which has not been safety checked recently.

P13 lead..

By Richard Cornwell

richard.cornwell@ecng.co.uk

ARE you sleeping each night with a potential fire hazard on your bed?

Fire chiefs and trading standards officers fear many people could be doing so – especially if they have an older electric blanket which has not been safety checked recently.

Latest government figures estimate that 816 fires were caused in the UK in 1999 from faulty electric blankets over 10 years old. These fires resulted in 19 deaths.

Now residents are being offered the chance to have their blankets tested for free to rid the county of the thousands of potentially lethal electric blankets before the winter weather sets in.

Peter Monk, member of Suffolk County Council's executive committee, said: "If you have an electric blanket over three years old, I urge you to take it to one of the fire stations involved in the testing scheme and get it tested.

"The service is free and it will put your mind at rest before you start to use your blanket for the winter.

"Research has shown that 41 per cent of people over the age of 70 have an electric blanket. These people are the least able to escape if something goes wrong.

"Last year a staggering 60pc of the blankets we tested were unsafe. Lets hope that this year we can rid Suffolk once and for all of unsafe electric blankets."

Among the fire stations taking part in the testing – a joint venture by county council trading standards officers and Suffolk Fire Service – are Ipswich and Felixstowe.

Anyone with safety doubt about their electric blanket, or those belonging to a neighbour or relative, should get them tested. Blankets over three years old can be dropped off for testing and it is vital that residents only drop off and collect blankets during the stated opening times.

Blankets will be tested on a first come first served basis. Only blankets clearly labelled with a name and address will be accepted.

Each blanket will be logged and stored, then tested in a closed testing session. Any item failing the tests will be marked as unsafe and old blankets can be disposed of at the fire stations.

Any resident with a condemned blanket will be offered a £5 voucher towards the cost of a new one.

In Ipswich, Brigade HQ in Colchester Road, is open for people to drop off their blankets today from 8am-noon and 5pm-7pm, and tomorrow from 9am-11am and 3pm-5pm.

Blanket collection dates are October 9 between 3pm-7pm and October 10 from 2pm-4pm.

At Felixstowe Fire Station, High Road West, Felixstowe, blankets can be delivered on Thursday from 10am-2pm and Friday from 1pm-3pm. Collection will be on October 9 from 8.30am-1pm and October 12 from 9am-11am.

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