As shorter days turn into longer nights this Autumn, people across Hampshire are being encouraged to take advantage of potentially lifesaving electric blanket checks on offer from Hampshire County Council.
The County Council's Trading Standards Service has teamed up with Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service and local district and borough councils to offer the free safety checks at venues across the county from this month.
In the last 16 years, around 17,000 blankets have been tested in Hampshire with approximately 45% of these failing the safety checks. The main problems are that many are over ten years old, have poor wiring, faulty controls or offer no protection against over-heating.
Many people simply lose track of how long they have owned their blankets and because they warm up, they assume that they are working correctly. Last year, a number of blankets were failed on sight by the testing engineer as they were manufactured more than ten years previously and had reached the end of their safe working life.
The ultimate danger of leaving electric blankets unchecked is the risk of house fires, which can be caused if a fault goes undetected.
The safety checks are only available by pre-booked appointment and spaces are limited. To reserve a place telephone 01962 833 358.
Leader of Hampshire County Council, Councillor Roy Perry, said: "As the winter nights draw in it is not only important to stay warm, but to stay safe. I would urge everyone who owns an electric blanket to book their slot and take advantage of this excellent free opportunity to get it checked.
"The older the blanket, the more likely it is to develop a fault and these free tests at venues across the county offer peace of mind that blankets meet vital safety standards, and mean a good night's sleep for anyone attending."
Southampton residents should telephone 023 80 834936 for appointments at Redbridge Fire Station on Monday 23 September 2013.
Portsmouth residents should telephone 023 92 841762 for advice and to book appointments. Checks are taking place on 30 September and 1 October.
This year's checks will be carried out at:
Monday 30 September
Andover Fire Station (London Street, Andover, SP10 2PF)
Tuesday 1 October
Basingstoke Fire Station (West Ham Close, Basingstoke, RG22 6PH)
Wednesday 2 October
Fleet Fire Station (89 Connaught Road, Fleet, GU51 3LP)
Thursday 3 October
Petersfield Fire Station (Swan Street, Petersfield, GU32 3AJ)
Friday 4 October
Waterlooville Fire Station (Forest End, Waterlooville, PO7 7PS)
Monday 7 October
Eastleigh Fire Station (Steele Close, Eastleigh, SO53 3AA)
Tuesday 8 October
Morning: Hythe Fire Station (New Road, Hythe, SO45 6BN)
Afternoon: Totton Fire Station (Testwood Lane, Totton, SO40 3AP)
Wednesday 9 October
Romsey Fire Station (Alma Road, Romsey, SO51 8EB)
Thursday 10 October
Alton Fire Station (Butts Road, Alton, GU34 1LL)
Friday 11 October
Farnborough Fire Station (Lynchford Road, Farnborough, GU14 6BF)
Monday 14 October
New Milton Fire Station (Gore Road, New Milton, BH25 6RX)
Tuesday 15 October
Winchester Fire Station (Easton Lane, Winnall, Winchester, SO23 0LF)
Wednesday 16 October
Gosport Fire Station (Privett Road, Gosport, PO12 3SR)
Thursday 17 October
Fareham Fire Station (Station Approach, Fareham, PO16 0HZ)
Friday 18 October
Hayling Island URC Hall (Hollow Lane, Mengham, Hayling Island)
Monday 21 October
Yateley Fire Station (Reading Road, Yateley, GU46 7UD)