Free electric blanket tests: come along

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Home Accident Prevention Groups, with funding from the Electrical Safety Council, are holding Electric Blankets Testing Road Shows in Ballymoney and Ballycastle.

Nearly three-quarters of electric blankets tested by Home Accident Prevention groups (HAP) last year failed safety checks. HAP Coleraine, HAP Ballymoney and HAP Moyle are now urging all electric blanket owners to have their blankets tested regularly. A total of 1,194 blankets were tested across the country from September – November in 2012. Of these blankets, 870 (73 per cent) failed the tests because of: faulty/damaged enclosures (which insulate the heating elements); faulty power cords; no overheat protection; or, faulty controllers. In 2011, the failure rate in similar safety testing events was around 60 per cent.

The average age of failing blankets was 12 years old. A handful of blankets were more than 40-years-old, and many were more than 20-years-old - dating back to a time before adequate overheat protection was included as standard. The majority of people who had blankets tested were over the age of 60. Many of those with faulty blankets were given a replacement or a voucher towards the cost of a new one.

Electric blanket related injuries and fires typically happen because people are using faulty blankets or do not use their blankets properly. Get your blanket tested regularly - at least every three years and replace it after 10 years.

Ballymoney; Thursday 17th October 10am - 4pm in the Shiels Room, Ballymoney Town Hall. 028 2766 0257.

Moyle: Friday 18th October 10am - 4pm Sheskburn House, Moyle Council Offices, 7 Mary Street, Ballycastle.