Check urged to prevent fires

A LAUNCESTON business has backed calls by the consumer watchdog for people to do a safety check of their winter appliances.

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission has urged people to check goods such as electric blankets, because of the low return rate of recalled blankets.

Nationally, more than 400,000 unsafe electric blankets have been recalled since 2010, many because of fire hazard or electrocution risks.

Consumers, however, have returned only 10 per cent of these electric blankets for a refund.

Begents Launceston store manager Marcus Ling advised people to check electric blankets before using them, and to ensure that they stayed flat while in use.

``Look at the wiring, the switches and the power plug end too,'' he said.

Mr Ling suggested replacing electric blankets every 10 years and for people to ensure they had the correct size to fit their bed.

Recalled electric blankets include brands sold nationally by major retailers such as Woolworths, Myer and Kmart.

ACCC deputy chairwoman Delia Rickard also warned of the dangers of common household items such as wheat bags and hot water bottles.

She said that wheat bags, also known as microwaveable personal warmers, had been linked to starting fires when placed in bed or after being left in the microwave for too long.

For more information about recalled products, visit www. productsafety.gov.au.

SAFETY ADVICE

Tasmania Fire Service safety advice:

  Keep clothing at least two metres away from any heat source.

 Never leave clothes unattended near a heater.

 Maintain heaters according to manufacturers' instructions.

 Always use fire screens with open fires.

 Don't leave heater doors open or remove screens from open fires.

 Clean and maintain chimneys and heater flues yearly.

 Always place woodheater ashes in a metal container.

 Dispose of ashes well clear of your house and pour water over them.

Begents Launceston store manager Marcus Ling says it's important that people check their winter appliances before using them.  Picture: PHILLIP BIGGS

Begents Launceston store manager Marcus Ling says it's important that people check their winter appliances before using them. Picture: PHILLIP BIGGS

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