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Electric blankets

Electric blankets cause hundreds of fires a year, but there are simple ways to stop that happening to you.

If your blanket (or its flex) shows any of these danger signs, you should have it checked or replaced:

  • scorch marks
  • fraying fabric
  • exposed elements
  • creasing or folding
  • soiling
  • damp patches
  • tie tapes damaged or missing
  • worn flex
  • loose connections
  • an old BEAB safety mark (round symbol) - this means it is more than 10 years old.

If in doubt …. throw it out.

Portable heaters

Electric heaters are by far the most dangerous form of heating, they use a lot of electricity and generate a lot of heat – two reasons to treat them with great care.

  • Keep them clear of curtains, fabrics and furniture.
  • Sit at least three feet (one metre) away.
  • Buy them from reputable shops.
  • Don’t dry washing on or near heaters, or on fire guards.
  • Don’t cover the air grilles of storage heaters, fan heaters and convection heaters.

Electric heaters must be fitted with the correct fuse, which should be stated in the manufacturer’s guide. The guard must prevent children or clothes coming into contact with the heating source. Cables should not be frayed or damaged and don’t lay them under rugs or carpets where they can be walked on and damaged. Don’t trail the leads across the floor where someone may trip over them and pull over the fire at the same time. If you find any damage or aren’t sure about the fuse or wiring, get a qualified electrician to advise you.

Gas heaters should be well maintained and checked over by a qualified gas engineer periodically.

Cylinders should be stored outside, protected from frost and direct sunlight.

If a leak of gas is detected:

  • all naked lights and cigarettes should be extinguished.
  • the gas cylinder should be turned off at the main valve and removed to the outside.
  • the heater should then be serviced and repaired.

Paraffin heaters also need to be well maintained, thoroughly cleaned and the wick checked and trimmed. Be very careful when filling, doing so in the open air to avoid a build-up of fumes. Once lit, don’t move the heater or top up the paraffin. Wipe up any spills and change clothes if they become soiled with fuel. Be careful to let fumes escape safely from wiping cloths.

All portable heaters should always be secured in position to prevent them accidentally being knocked over when in use.

Always use a fireguard and never leave a heater unattended, especially when there are children about. Children should not be left in a room with an unguarded fire.

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