News release text
Firefighters are repeating warnings about the safe use of electric blankets after a fire in a Maidstone home last night (Monday).
Fire crews were called at 9.15pm to Shaftesbury Drive after the woman, believed to be in her late 90’s, discovered her electric blanket had caught alight.
The woman went to her neighbour’s home to raise the alarm and while the neighbour phoned the fire service was unaware that the elderly lady had returned to her home.
Two fire engines from Maidstone arrived at the detached bungalow within seven minutes. Crews wearing breathing apparatus went into the smoke filled property and led the elderly woman to safety.
Maidstone Watch Manager, Roy Ingram, said: “The house was full of smoke when we arrived but thankfully this lady had a lucky escape. Just three breaths of smoke can knock you unconscious, with potentially fatal consequences.
“If you discover a fire in your home, close the door on it as this will limit the damage. Get out of your home and call the fire service out. Never go back into your home it’s not worth getting hurt or risking your life.”
Firefighters used a hose reel to tackle the blaze and positive pressure ventilation fan to clear smoke from the bungalow.
It is believed the fire started due to an fault in an electric blanket.
Roy added: “Fit smoke alarms on every floor of your home, test them weekly and never remove the batteries.”
Follow our safety tips if you do plan on using an electric blanket have it checked on a regular basis and look out for danger signs such as scorch marks or fraying:
Always follow the manufacturers’ instructions and never sleep with an electric blanket switched on, unless it has a safety thermostat control and is designed for sleeping
Never use a blanket that is more than 10 years old, and check the wiring/leads regularly for damage
Always store an electric blanket flat or rolled loosely, to prevent damage to internal wiring
Make sure that electric blankets are correctly secured to the mattress using the ties provided, to prevent creasing/pinching wiring
For more electric blanket safety advice go to the Directgov website