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Electric blankets and heaters (fire safety)

​Electric blanket safety

Make sure you buy your electric blanket from a reliable source and replace it every 10 years, whether it shows signs of damage or not.

Check that it has a UK safety standard mark – a symbol that means the blanket has been independently tested and meets the latest UK and European safety standards. 

Before you use your blanket, make sure that it (or its cord) doesn’t show any of the following danger signs:

  • scorch marks or discoloration areas visible on the fabric of the blanket
  • wires are visible or poking through the fabric
  • fabric is frayed or worn
  • there is damage to the electrical cord between the plug and the blanket’s control mechanism or between the control and the blanket
  • the control makes a buzzing sound when switched  on or gives off a smell
  • the blanket’s connector, where the electrical cord plugs into the blanket, is damaged or over-heating

Other useful safety tips include:

  • always buy new – never buy second-hand blankets, as they may not be safe or meet current safety requirements
  • always read and follow the manufacturer’s instructions before use
  • examine your blanket regularly for signs of wear or damage
  • never use an electric underblanket as an overblanket (or vice versa)
  • don’t use the blanket while it's still folded or creased
  • don’t use a hot water bottle at the same time as using your electric blanket
  • don’t touch the blanket if you have wet hands or feet, and never use the blanket if it's wet or damp

If you're in any doubt contact the manufacturer before you use it.

Storing electric blankets

Even when your blanket is not in use, you can leave it on the bed or place it flat on a spare bed.  If you have to put the blanket away, it should be stored as the manufacturer recommends or as follows:

  • let the blanket cool down before folding
  • loosely fold or roll it in a towel or plastic bag and store the blanket in a cool dry place
  • don’t use any moth-proofing chemicals
  • don't place heavy items on top of the blanket while it is being stored

Electric heaters

Plug-in heaters use a lot of electricity and generate a lot of heat.  This means they can be dangerous if they are not used correctly. You should:

  • keep them clear of curtains and furniture
  • stand heaters where they cannot be knocked over
  • sit at least three feet (one metre) away from them
  • buy your heater from a reputable shop
  • never dry washing on or near them (or on fireguards)
  • never try to move a heater while it is switched on; always turn it off and allow it to cool first
  • if you have children or pets, make sure you put a fire guard in front of the heater
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