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OAPs living with bedtime perils; MANY BLANKETS STILL UNSAFE - BUT MESSAGE IS GETTING THROUGH.

ONE in four electric blankets owned by Rugby pensioners were found to be unsafe during a recent test campaign, according to trading standards officers.

But Warwickshire Trading Standards which tested 139 blankets at Rugby Fire Station say that generally people are heeding their safety message and binning their faulty blankets.

Across the county 40 per cent of blankets failed the safety checks compared with 75 per cent last year.

"These encouraging figures suggest that our campaign has begun to show dividends and reduce the number of dangerous blankets lurking in the homes of elderly people across Warwickshire," said Warwickshire Trading Standards officer Noel Hunter.

The Rugby tests showed 34 of the 139 blankets tested were unsafe and 24 had minor faults that could be rectified.

Scores of people turned up to the Corporation Street fire station for the free tests, which were conducted by trading standards officers.

Lethal faults included damaged wiring, exposed elements and lack of a safety cut-off thermostat - a problem found in many older blankets.During the session pensioners were told that more than 900 people nationwide are killed or injured in fires started by faulty electric blankets.

Mr Hunter added: "As the autumn weather moves in more and more people - many of them elderly - will be switching on their electric blankets.

"A large number of the pensioners we spoke to said that they used their blankets daily during the winter and we cannot stress too highly how important it is to ensure that the blanket which gives so much comfort in cold weather is safe."
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Author:Tolfts, Lisa
Publication:Coventry Evening Telegraph (England)
Date:Sep 22, 1999
Words:259
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