Published: Friday, 18 September 2020

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.

Free testing in Oxford

The coronavirus pandemic means that there will be no public testing events this year. Instead, people who want a test should call 01865 895999 (Option 1) or email to arrange for collection of blankets from their home. A plastic bag and label will be provided before collection.

Following testing electric blankets will be returned to their owners and new blankets will be provided where a blanket has failed its test.

Free electric blanket testing will take place between Monday 5 and Friday 9 October and again between Monday 19 and Friday 23 October.

Home Improvement Agency support

When blankets are returned or replaced 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.

Dangerous electric blankets

Last year 662 electric blankets were tested and nearly a fifth (107 blankets) 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 100 blankets tested last year were unsafe, so do look out for the danger signs. As we cannot hold public events this year, please phone or email to arrange for your electric blanket to be collected for testing.”

Councillor Mike Rowley, Cabinet Member for Affordable Housing and Housing the Homeless

Advice and information from the Home Improvement Agency

To discuss the support the HIA may be able to offer call 01865 252788 or visit the Home Improvement Agency pages.

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