Old electric blankets could burn your house

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A top Londonderry safety officer says many old electric blankets being fired up again as the colder weather sets in could present a potential risk of house fires.

Derry City and Strabane District Council’s Environmental Health Officer, Paul Rafferty, said: “Old or damaged blankets have been the cause of many fires in people’s homes over the years.”

With an expected drop in night time temperatures over the coming weeks, Derry City and Strabane District Council are working in partnership with Home Accident Prevention Foyle, to offer local residents the opportunity to have their electric blankets tested for free.

The electric blanket testing will be carried out at a “Stay warm, stay safe” event that will be open to older people, their families and carers in the Guildhall, between 11am – 3pm on Thursday next, October 15.

“So if you or a member of your family or a neighbour regularly use electric blankets, this is a great opportunity to have them checked, for free, to ensure that they are safe for use, especially if they are more than 3 years old,” said Mr Rafferty.

Collette Craig, Chairman of local charity, Home Accident Prevention Foyle, which is funding the event added: “Electric blankets are great for warming up quickly when you go to bed in the chilly winter nights, but they can be dangerous. Now is the ideal time to book your blanket in for a test, for your own safety and peace of mind and before the cold weather is upon us.”

The safety checks on the blankets will be provided on a first come first served basis and must be booked in advance by telephoning Paula Gallagher in the Environmental Health service on 02871376554

In addition to the electric blanket testing, the Stay Warm, Stay Safe event will bring together a range of organisations offering information and advice to help older people to keep safe, healthy and secure in their homes. There will be a light refreshments available throughout the event and those attending will be able to enter a free prize draw.