Electric blanket fires have increased since last year, charity warns

The number of electric blanket fires has increased since last year, a charity has warned.

Electrical Safety First, which aims to reduce injuries from electrical accidents, said that high energy bills and cold weather could risk a further increase in incidents. 

It follows a fire, suspectedly caused by an electric blanket, damaged a property in Kingston in south west London last month. 

A woman left the building before fire crews arrived and was reportedly seen to by paramedics. 

Joshua Drew, a spokesperson for Electrical Safety First, said: “The situation with high energy bills and sub-zero temperatures has created a perfect storm for home appliance fires. 

“People seem to be looking to heat the person rather than the home, as an alternative to central heating.

“Electric blankets can be a great way of doing that, so long as you’ve got one that’s inherently safe.

“There is a huge lack of protection for customers when shopping online.

“While the figures may not be eye-watering, of the fires that happened around one in three resulted in either a casualty or a fatality. 

“While all fires can be life-threatening, there really is nothing worse than one happening in the bed that you’re asleep in.” 

Customers buying electric blankets should stick to reputable retailers because the products they sell have been through safety testing, Drew told SW Londoner. 

The charity’s findings are based on Home Office data. 

29 fires linked to electric blankets were recorded in 2022/23 up from 21 in 2021/22, meaning there was a 38% increase.

The London Fire Brigade (LFB) said people should use its online Home Fire Safety Checker to reduce risks, and warned not to buy second-hand electric blankets. 

A spokesperson for LFB said: “Electric blankets can be a good way to keep warm, but there are some simple tips to follow to keep safe if using them.

“They should always be stored flat, rolled up or loosely folded to prevent damaging the internal wiring. 

“Always unplug them before you get into bed unless it has a thermostat control for safe all-night use. 

“Never use an electric blanket if you have an airflow pressure relief mattress or use emollient creams and if your blanket gets wet, don’t use it and never switch it on to dry it.”

Featured image by Kai Butcher on Unsplash.


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