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Unsafe Blankets Condemned 1 October 2003

The Isle of Man Office of Fair Trading was pleased to find itself inundated with requests for its free electric blanket testing service again.

This year 281 blankets were tested keeping the specialist engineer, Clive MacDonald and the Office's Technical Officer, Mike Buss at full stretch. There was a high rate of failure again this year with 48% of blankets found to be unsafe to use and condemned. This figure is consistent with the failure level over the previous 3 years. A further 5% were found to have dangerous faults which the engineer was able to repair on the day at no cost to the owners. Most of the condemned blankets were left with the Office which will be donating them to the MSPCA to be used as pet bedding.

Over 5000 house fires a year in the UK are caused by old or damaged electric blankets and each year 10 people are killed and 100 injured in such fires.

The testing was conducted at the Age Concern event held at the NSC and Fire Stations around the Island and the Fire Service took the opportunity to promote it's free smoke detector service to those over 60 at the testing sessions.

Commenting on the electric blanket testing Mr John Houghton, MHK, Chairman of the Office of Fair Trading said "The Office provides this valuable safety service free of charge and I am delighted that so many people took advantage of the testing. It is vital that unsafe blankets are removed from use and I am pleased that the engineer was able to repair those which had potentially deadly but resolvable faults".

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