While temperatures have been soaring recently winter will be upon us sooner than you think.
Oxford City Council is encouraging electric blanket owners to prepare for colder weather by taking advantage of free testing next month.
The council’s Home Improvement Agency (HIA) is teaming up with Oxfordshire County Council Trading Standards and the Oxfordshire Fire and Rescue Service to provide testing and highlight the dangers associated with faulty blankets.
Faulty electric blankets account for around 1,000 home fires each year, which can be prevented with regular testing.
Free testing in Oxford
Testing will take place at Blackbird Leys Community Centre from 9am to 5:30pm on Monday 19 September.
Free refreshments will be available and HIA staff will be on hand to give advice on repairs, maintenance and adaptations to help people live safely and independently in their home.
People who want a test need to call 01865 895999 (Option 3) or email firstname.lastname@example.org to arrange an appointment. People who are unable to attend on the day can also arrange for electric blankets to be collected from their home between Monday 3 October and Friday 7 October.
New blankets may be provided where a blanket has failed its test.
Dangerous electric blankets
Last year 390 electric blankets were tested and nearly a third (30%) 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 nearly a third of the blankets tested last year were unsafe. Please look out for the danger signs and make an appointment for your electric blanket to be checked. Our HIA will be on hand to help you with this and can also offer other support to help you live safely and independently in your home.”
Councillor Linda Smith, cabinet member for housing
Advice and support from the Home Improvement Agency
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