Even though MRS provides adequate heating in all student bedrooms, we understand some students may wish to use an electric blanket during the colder winter months. Accidents involving overheating can occur if an electric blanket is misused. When sold new, adequate instructions are given to the user on a label on the electric blanket and on an instruction card supplied with the blanket. It is essential that these instructions are read and carefully observed.
Hazard Alert #2
TO: ALL RESIDENTS
RE: HAZARD ALERT - ELECTRIC BLANKETS
Some of the more important safety points that should be followed at all times when using an electric blanket are:
- The blanket should be securely fixed using the tapes attached to it for this purpose and at all times the blanket should be kept in a fully spread condition without any rucking or folding over.
- The blanket size should suit the mattress with which it is to be used, and pins or other sharp objects should not be used to secure the blanket.
- When a blanket doubles on itself or is permitted to ruck together, the heat build-up within the fold or ruck is many times greater than that which occurs when the blanket is in a fully spread condition.
- Clothing and bedclothes should not be piled on the bed while the blanket is switched on as this may cause localised overheating of areas of the blanket.
- Deliberate care should be taken to switch the blanket off after use. Statistically about half the reported cases of scorching and fire have occurred during daytime, after electric blankets have been left on for some time and unattended.
- The electrical supply flexible cord and switch (if any) must, as far as is practicable, be kept outside the bed to avoid any strain or twisting, particularly at the switch or point of attachment to the blanket. Do not tuck in the cord or switch. Failure of the flexible cord or its terminations can cause arcing and burning in the vicinity of the failure.
- If the blanket becomes soiled, sponge it lightly and allow it to dry naturally on a flat surface. Do not dry-clean or use a washing machine or spin drier.
Inspecting your electric blanket
- It is most important to make regular check inspections of your electric blanket in use and particularly prior to use at the beginning of each winter season. Examine the blanket thoroughly before it is plugged in. Ensure that it is not in any way scorched (no matter how slightly) or badly worn and that there is no evidence of lumpiness or possible damage to the element due to creasing, which may have occurred from rough handling or storage.
- Examine the electrical supply cord and check that there is no evidence of damage or cracks in the cord or evidence of heat markings, which initially may appear only as a light stain, particularly where the cord enters the switch or the terminations on the blanket. Also check that the blanket control switch and the electrical supply plug on the cord are in good condition.
- The blanket should then be switched on and the element area checked for evidence of localised heating.
- Cover the electric blanket with an ordinary blanket to retain the heat and leave switched on at the highest setting for approximately ten to fifteen minutes. Then, running the palm of your hand over the blanket covering, check that the electric blanket is heating evenly over the full heating surface and that no localised hot spots are evident. A localised hot spot is an indication of damage to the heating element.
If the electric blanket fails to pass any of these checks, or if any abnormality or defect in operation is noted, discontinue its use immediately and consult the manufacturer or the supplier regarding its repair.
Your safety and the safety of fellow residents depends ultimately on your common sense in following the manufacturer's instructions and ensuring that the electric blanket is regularly inspected for wear or damage.