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Firefighters urge people to turn off electrics before turning in for the night

Firefighters urge people to turn off electrics before turning in for the night

21 December 2014

Kent Fire and Rescue Service (KFRS) is repeating warnings about the safe use of electric blankets after one caught alight in Meopham this morning.

Two fire engines from Thames-side were called at 4.22am to Warwick Gardens after a woman, believed to be in her 70’s, was woken by flames.

The woman initially attempted to tackle the fire herself by throwing water over it but found the smoke was too overpowering, so got out of the room, closing the door behind her and phoned 999.

Firefighters in breathing apparatus used a high pressure hose to put the fire out. A thermal imaging camera was used to check for hot spots and a special fan to clear smoke and fumes from the two storey house.

Crew Manager, Dave Aylwin, said: "This woman had a very lucky escape, her bedroom is almost destroyed and the first floor of her home severely smoke damaged. The heat from the fire cracked the double glazed windows and caused wallpaper to flake from the walls.

"If you have an elderly relative, neighbour or friend please pop in and check on them this Christmas. If they sleep with an electric blanket, please remind them to only use it to warm the bed up and not to sleep with it on. Test their smoke alarms work and if they don’t have one or you have any other fire safety concerns, give us a call on 0800 923 7000.  It will give you peace of mind and might just save their life."

The woman was checked by paramedics after breathing in smoke but was not taken to hospital. The Red Cross vehicle has also been providing emotional and practical assistance to the woman this morning.

Follow our electric blanket safety tips:

  • 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

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