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Keep warm, keep safe.

A third of electric blankets tested by trading standards officers in Darlington before Christmas were found to be dangerous.

Dangerous blankets cause house fires in the borough every year and 97pc of these blazes are caused by electric blankets that are more than ten years old.

To try to prevent a tragedy in Darlington people were encouraged to take their electric blanket to Age Concern to have it professionally tested by council staff.

Over two days, 154 blankets were tested and 31pc found to be faulty or dangerous.

The percentage of failed blankets was down on the previous year but still highlighted the fact that many people were using potentially lethal appliances.

Councillor Stephen Harker, cabinet member for consumer and environmental services, said: "I am delighted that so many people took this opportunity to have their electric blankets tested.

"Darlington Council works hard to help people prevent accidents at home and I hope these checks ensure that everyone can sleep safely in their beds this winter."

During the trading standards testing, the council offered to dispose of any dangerous blankets and discounts were offered on replacements.

A competition to win a new electric blanket was run to coincide with the testing days. The winner was Ruth Holmes from Darlington.
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Title Annotation:News Local
Publication:Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)
Date:Dec 10, 2005
Words:209
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