Firefighters were pleased to see "repeat customers" at the annual electric blanket testing day at Whanganui Fire Station, although numbers were down considerably.

Fire risk management officer Jess Nesbit said electric blankets needed to be safety checked every year and it had been pleasing to see some blankets at Friday's event with last year's approved tag still on them.

"People need to remember to get them tested every year," Nesbit said.

"We got some regulars coming back this year. There's not the influx we had last year but it's been steady. Nearly 100 blankets were dropped off at Citizens Advice during the week for us to check."

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A total of 283 blankets were tested, with 22 failing. In 2018 they checked 540 blankets, with 35 failures.

Of those that passed this year's test, nine have been donated by their owners to Women's Refuge Whanganui. The failed blankets will be given to the Whanganui Pound for bedding.

Electricians from Laser Electrical again helped with the testing and Nesbit said Fire and Emergency appreciated them providing the service for free.

She also thanked volunteers from Safer Whanganui who again assisted with running the event.

People who brought their electric blankets in for free testing were provided with safety information and offered free home fire safety visits where firefighters provide advice and fit a smoke alarm if needed.

Anyone who missed out on the testing day can take advantage of an offer by Laser Electrical to have their blanket tested for $10. They should go to Laser Electrical in Wilson St to take up the deal.

Safety tips for electric blankets

• Worn and old electric blankets can cause an electric shock, fire and possibly even death.
• At the first sign of wear have your electric blanket tested by a qualified electrician.
• Replace your electric blanket every five years with new heat-protected models, which are safer.
• Make sure the blanket is always flat on the bed and that controls and cords are not twisted or caught between the mattress and the base of the bed. Twisted cords are a common cause of electric blanket fires.
• Roll your blanket when you store it for summer. Don't fold it: you can easily damage the internal wiring by bending it sharply.
• Don't place heavy objects on the bed while the blanket is on.
• Never sleep with your electric blanket on, not even on a low setting.
• Don't leave your blanket on during the day.

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