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Blanket coverage of citizens at risk; CONDEMNED - BED WARMERS THAT COULD KILL THEIR OWNERS.

Byline: BARBARA GOULDEN

TWO in three electric blankets tested by trading standards officers in Coventry were condemned as unsafe, putting their owners at serious risk.

More than 300 blankets were tested last week - with 200 found to be faulty or unsafe.

One blanket, owned by a pensioner, turned out to be nearly 30 years old.

She said she had kept it because "they don't make them like they used to".

Another blanket left officers bewildered - its owner had used insulating tape to join together exposed wires after the heating element had burned through.

The free testing was held at Coventry's Central Methodist Hall, city centre, by trading standards.

Consumer safety officer Peter Randall said: "Electric and underblankets cause many injuries every year, either as a result of people sleeping on them when they have not been switched off or through fires caused by faults. Modern blankets all have thermostats which automatically cut out if they are getting too hot."

The city's Ring and Ride bus service laid on extra transport to take people directly to Central Hall with their appliances.

Principal trading standards officer Manjit Dhaliwal, who carried out most of the testing, said: "We booked ten minute appointments for everyone and whenever we found blankets of an older design, without safety features, we offered senior citizens half-price vouchers towards replacing them.

"This meant a new single blanket would cost pounds 10 and they could even buy a luxury pounds 80 one for just pounds 40."

qAnyone who missed having their blankets tested can arrange for a free examination on October 8, organised by Age Concern and Powergen who are offering free replacements.

To book an appointment call 0845 700 9966.

CAPTION(S):

TAKING AWAY THE KILLERS: Sub-officers Steve Taylor (left) and John Herdman of West Midlands fire service help Manjit Dhaliwal of trading standards to dispose of the old electric blankets which put their owners at risk. Picture: JAMES BALFOUR
COPYRIGHT 2001 Coventry Newpapers
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 2001 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Publication:Coventry Evening Telegraph (England)
Date:Sep 24, 2001
Words:321
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