A 55-YEAR-OLD electric blanket was among the bedtime horrors discovered during the latest electrical testing sessions run by the island’s fire and rescue service.
The ancient blanket was brought in to the recent testing session held at Ramsey swimming pool and has now been taken out of circulation.
Sub officer Peter Killey who is in charge of the community safety team at Douglas fire station said the blanket was still in its original box but had been used.
‘It failed the test,’ he said.
‘It was 55 years old and our expert said it could even be older. The elements were made of asbestos apparently. The tester won’t even touch one that is over 12 years old and we had so many failing.’
The tests which are organised every two years took place recently in the north at the Ramsey swimming pool, in Douglas at the National Sports Centre and in Castletown at the civic centre.
The initiative saw around 250 people visit the centres across the island to have their blankets tested.
This year saw 40 per cent of the blankets brought in fail the test. This equated to 100 blankets out of the 250 tested.
The statistics compare favourably with last time the testing was carried out when 56 per cent of the items brought in to be checked failed.
Mr Killey said: ‘The wiring breaks down with age and it affects the heating elements and some have the old Bakelite plugs and control boxes.’
Community fire officers hosted the free testing sessions in conjunction with the Manx Electricity Authority and Age Isle of Man.
Mr Killey said: ‘We were encouraged by the number of people taking advantage of this free service and pleased to have removed from circulation nearly 100 electric blankets which posed a potential fire risk.’
He added: ‘As a general guide, people should have their electric blankets tested every two years and any that are more than 10 years old should be replaced.
‘Faulty blankets can be responsible for devastating household fires and this year’s failure rate of 40 per cent brings that risk into sharp focus.’
People who attended the testing sessions received a ‘Fire Safety in the Home’ booklet and had an opportunity to chat to representatives from Age Isle of Man and the ‘bright ideas officer’ from the MEA who were on hand to discuss ways to improve household energy efficiency.
Sub officer Killey said: ‘This was a very worthwhile safety initiative and it was beneficial to work in partnership with other government departments and the “third sector”. These sessions form an important part of our ongoing campaign to improve all aspects of consumer safety. We would also like to thank staff at Castletown Civic Centre, the Northern Swimming Pool and National Sports Centre for their co-operation.’