Essex County Fire and Rescue Service


Electric Blankets

Electric blankets can be a great, cost-effective way to keep warm and cosy this winter, however it's important to use them with care to reduce the risk of fire.

Electric blanket - danger signs 

To avoid an electric blanket fire, make sure that it (or its cord) does not show any of the following danger signs: 

  • Scorch marks or discoloration areas are visible on the fabric of the blanket  
  • Wires are visible or poking through the fabric  
  • Fabric is frayed or worn  
  • There is damage to the electrical cord between the plug and the blanket's control mechanism or between the control and the blanket  
  • The control makes a buzzing sound when switched on or gives off a smell  
  • The blanket's connector, where the electrical cord plugs into the blanket, is damaged or over-heating 

If you are in any doubt about your blanket, contact the manufacturer before you use it to make sure that it is safe. It may need to be replaced. 

Electric blanket safety tips 

  • Always buy new when choosing an electric blanket - never buy secondhand blankets, as they may not be safe and you can't be sure that they meet current safety requirements  
  • Always read and follow the manufacturer's instructions before use  
  • Examine your blanket regularly for signs of wear or damage  
  • Never use an electric underblanket as an overblanket (or vice versa)   
  • Do not use the blanket while it's still folded or creased  
  • Do not use a hot water bottle at the same time as using your electric blanket  
  • Do not touch the blanket if you have wet hands or feet, and never use the blanket if it is wet or damp

Electric blankets should be checked by a qualified technician every three years for signs of wear or damage.  

Storing electric blankets 

  • Let the blanket cool down before folding  
  • Loosely fold or roll it in a towel or plastic bag and store the blanket in a cool dry place  
  • Do not use any moth-proofing chemicals  
  • Do not place heavy items on top of the blanket while it is being stored 
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