Oxford City Council’s Home Improvement Agency (HIA) is teaming up with Oxfordshire County Council to offer free electric blanket testing to Oxford residents.
The HIA is working with Trading Standards and the Oxfordshire Fire and Rescue Service to provide testing and highlight the dangers associated with faulty blankets, which account for more than 5,000 home fires each year.
Free testing in Oxford
There will be no public testing events this year. Instead, people who want their electric blanket tested should call 01865 895999 (Option 1) or email firstname.lastname@example.org to arrange for collection from their home. A plastic bag and label will be provided before collection.
Electric blankets will be returned to their owners after testing and a replacement will be provided where a blanket has failed its test.
Free electric blanket testing will take place between Monday 20 and Friday 24 September and again between Monday 4 and Friday 8 October.
Dangerous electric blankets
Last year 756 electric blankets were tested and 159 (21%) failed to meet safety standards, making them a potential fire risk. Warning signs that an electric blanket may be unsafe include fraying fabric, scorch marks, exposed elements, loose connections and worn flex.
“It's worrying that more than a fifth of blankets tested last year were unsafe. Please do look out for the danger signs. Our staff are there to help on this and other home-related issues, so please phone to make an appointment for your blanket to be checked or for advice.”
Councillor Diko Blackings, cabinet member for affordable housing, housing security and housing the homeless
Advice and support from the Home Improvement Agency
When blankets are returned or replaced the HIA will ensure that the blanket bags contain information about their services to help older, disabled and vulnerable residents live safely and independently in their own homes,
The HIA can help with adaptions to a home and general household repairs, minor electrical and plumbing works, energy efficiency measures and home safety and security. Grants or loans may be available to undertake any necessary work.
To discuss the support the HIA may be able to offer call 01865 252788 or visit www.oxford.gov.uk/hia