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MORE than 40 per cent of electric blankets in people’s homes are at risk of catching fire, according to West Sussex Fire and Rescue Service,

Firefighters are warning people to be careful when using the blankets as they can cause potentially devastating blazes.

Jackie Boyle, community fire safety officer for West Sussex, said: ‘We are encouraging anyone who hasn’t had their electric blanket tested in the past two years to take up a free test.’

‘Elderly people, or those who are less mobile, can be more vulnerable.’

‘So we’d urge those caring for older people to consider getting blankets tested on their behalf.’

Blankets that are more than 10 years old are a particular concern for the fire service as they do not have the overheat protection found in newer blankets.

Nationally, there are around 1,000 fires caused by unsafe electric blankets each year.

To find your nearest testing venue or for advice on the safe use of electric blankets call 0845 872 9719.