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Electric blanket safety urged following death of woman in Penrhyndeudraeth fire


North Wales Fire and Rescue Service is warning of the potential dangers of electric blankets following the death of a woman in a fire at a property in Penrhyndeudreth last week.
Firefighters from Porthmadog, Blaenau Ffestiniog, Pwllheli and Harlech were called to the property on Castle Street, Penrhyndeudraeth at 22.25hrs on Thursday 20th March. On arrival they were confronted with a well developed fire involving an upstairs flat above a chemist shop.

Four sets of breathing apparatus and two hose reel jets were deployed in tackling the fire.

An 81 year old woman was located at the property by firefighters and was treated by paramedics at the scene, but died shortly afterwards. Her 88 year old partner had earlier made his way out of the property to seek help.

Terry Williams from North Wales Fire and Rescue Service said:

"A joint investigation by North Wales Fire and Rescue Service and North Wales Police has established that the most likely cause of this fire was a faulty electric blanket.

"We are therefore stressing the importance of electric blanket safety.

"This elderly couple had been watching TV when they became aware of a fire in their property. They had switched on their electric blanket earlier that evening.
"Electric blankets should be tested annually by a qualified electrician and replaced if they fail to meet the standard required. We also advise residents not to use electric blankets over five years old, and only use the devices according to the manufacturers' instructions. Also, sockets should never be overloaded and the fuse rating of the blanket should be checked by opening up the plug casing.

"It is important that electric blankets are stored correctly when they are not in use - folding the electric blankets can cause damage to the wires within. They should be stored flat or rolled up. Before the blankets are used after seasonal storage, they should be checked to ensure they operate correctly

"Please don't leave an electric blanket switched on all night, unless it is thermostatically controlled and designed to be left on. Electric blankets should carry the British Standard Kitemark and the British Electrotechnical Approvals Board (BEAB) symbol on them.
"Remember that North Wales Fire and Rescue Service offers free home fire safety checks where a member of the Service will visit your home to undertake a fire safety assessment and provide advice, and if necessary, fit a new smoke alarm free of charge.

"To request a check, phone our 24 hour hotline on 0800 169 1234 or contact us on ."


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