Electric Blanket Safety

electric-blanket-safetyMany people use an electric blanket in the wintertime in an effort to combat the cold night air. Although these blankets can be pleasant, they also have the potential to be dangerous. Hundreds of fires each year are started thanks to the faulty construction or improper use of one of these blankets.

Despite this, these blankets can be safely used. In order for this to happen, a person simply needs to be able to take a few precautions when using these kinds of blankets. Some of the precautions include:

o Check for wear and fraying - The best place to look to see if there is any wear or fraying would be around the edges of the blanket. As a person looks, he or she should make sure that there are no exposed wires as well. One of the best ways to check a blanket is to use one's hands to do the checking. A person can run his or her fingers over the places where the wiring protrudes to make sure that everything feels like it is intact. Any exposed wiring that protrudes through the blanket could be dangerous. In these cases, the blankets should be replaced.

o Check for stiff wiring - In some places, the wiring might be stiff or rigid. This is usually noticeable because the wiring in these places does not lie flat like it is supposed to. As a person feels the blanket with his or her hand, he or she should be able to feel a soft and flexible blanket. If the blanket feels immovable or rigid anywhere, this is a sign that the wiring has been damaged. These blankets should not be used because they could be dangerous.

o Scorch marks - Not every small spark will start a large flame. Sometimes there are only a couple of small scorches on the electric blanket. This means that there was a flame, but it didn't catch to become a fire. A person who finds these marks on a blanket should consider himself or herself lucky to not have been injured and should immediately throw the blanket away. Light black or brown marks on a blanket are instant indications that the blanket is not safe for use.

o Check the connections - The plastic that surrounds the cords should not have any cuts or wear on it. The wiring inside of the plastic should never be exposed. A person should check the plastic that surrounds the wiring all the way from the blanket to the wall. Often sparks or fires can start from the wall connections. In these cases, the fire usually occurs because the plastic coating around the wire has worn away and is not protecting like it once was.

o Check the dial - It is equally important to make sure that the dial on the blanket works well. It is particularly important to check to make sure that the blanket is turned off when the dial is switched to off. Similarly, it is important to make sure that the dial stays on the temperature it is set to. If an electric blanket gets hotter than it is supposed to, it can burn the person sleeping under it.

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