Nearly half the electric blankets tested failed in a recent free initiative for the elderly.
The hidden dangers of electric blankets were exposed after Merton Council found 25 out of 51 blankets failed a safety test in a recent free initiative for elderly people.
Age Concern Merton and the London Fire Brigade invited people to bring their electric blankets in for free safety tests with the council’s Trading Standards team.
The aim was to encourage more safety awareness as the cold weather approaches.
Owners of the blankets which did not meet the required standard were given a free replacement, paid for by the London Fire Brigade.
Both the council and the London Fire Brigade are urging people to check their blankets every three years and ideally replace them every ten.
A spokesman from the London Fire Brigade said: “If a blanket has fraying fabric, scorch marks, exposed elements, creasing, loose connections or any other type of damage, it should be replaced.
“It’s also important people never leave their electric blanket switched on overnight, unless it is has controls for safe all night use.”
In the UK, it is estimated that 5,000 fires per year are caused by faulty electric blankets, of which 99% are believed to have been caused by blankets 10 years or older.