G.E.M.S. (SW) Ltd
687 Budshead Road
Tel No: 01752 769950
18th March 2014
BBC Watchdog Test House – Electric Blanket Testing
Today saw the broadcast of the promised BBC Watchdog Test House programme featuring the safety of electric blankets. Presented by Sophie Raworth filming was shot on location at the Age UK Offices in Halifax where the event was open to the general public so that they could bring in their electric blankets for a FREE safety check. GEMS (SW) Ltd test engineer Clive Macdonald who performed the checks, prominently featured in describing and demonstrating how to test electric blankets. On the day, nearly 100 electric blankets were examined and tested, with a staggering 70% being condemned. Many failures were due to the age of the blanket. Several were found to be 45 to 50 years old with no built in safety features, all of these being potentially lethal. However, there was some good news also. Through GEMS (SW) Ltd procurement service the event sponsors were able to fund the supply of free single and double replacement electric blankets to those members of the public whose blankets had failed. The televised programme then went on to show an interview with an elderly couple whose home had been destroyed by an electric blanket fire and the heartache of losing all their treasured possessions. Further filming at a site of the British Research Establishment (BRE) where consumer product testing takes place, compared the differences between a very old electric blanket and a modern one. All modern blankets incorporate an Overheat Protection safety device that should disconnect the electrical supply in the event of a fault. The message to the public is ‘Make sure that you get your electric blanket checked regularly’.
20th December 2013
Another Successful Year of Electric Blanket Testing
2013 has yet again been another busy year for GEMS with electric blanket testing. Despite the continued economic downturn, our engineers have been travelling all over the U.K. testing electric blankets for one day and week long events. This past year has seen several new organisations being added to our ever growing client list. Many projects now include the issue of replacement blankets that we have sourced for clients, with the added value that GEMS will look after any warranty issues should they arise.
12th November 2013
BBC Watchdog Test House – Filming of Electric Blanket Testing
Surprise, surprise – The BBC Watchdog Test House film crew turned up at the Age UK Calderdale & Kirklees electric blanket testing event which was held in Halifax on 12th November. Microphones were quickly attached to Age UK staff and GEMS test engineer Clive Macdonald. The event was very well attended by the public, so the filming crew had plenty of footage of the event. We were informed that the program should be broadcasted sometime during the spring of next year.
24th July 2013
Debenhams Recalls Thousands of Electric Blankets over Fire Risk
Ten thousand electric blankets are being recalled by high street giant Debenhams amid fears they may catch fire. Debenhams yesterday said that it was recalling two models of its SLEEPING BEAUTY electric blankets after complaints from a handful of customers. Despite the country enjoying a summer heat wave, the store insisted it had withdrawn the product, typically used in the depths of winter, from sale as soon as it became aware of the problem.
A spokeswoman said there was a risk of the electrical cable shorting out, which causes the bedding to burn. She insisted that none had over-heated and no fires had been caused. But tests would be carried out to ascertain the risks, and customers should bring the blankets back to stores immediately. Models concerned are Sleeping Beauty SB1001 single tie-on underblanket and SB1002 double tie-on underblanket with a single control.
25th May 2013
Killer Electric Blanket Identified by GEMS
A request received earlier this week from Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service was to try and identify what was left of an electric blanket that was involved in a fatal Salford fire in February of this year. Tragically an 86 year old woman died after suffering severe burns and smoke inhalation in a blaze at her home. After seeing photographic evidence of what was left of the electric blanket, we were able to identify it as being of a preheat only type blanket that was between 35 – 40 years old and having no form of safety overheat protection cut out. Preheat electric blankets must be switched off before getting into bed. Government guidelines are that electric blankets have a ten year life span and should be replaced thereafter. It is also recommended that electric blankets are checked on a regular basis by the manufacturer or specialist Test Company such as GEMS. We welcome any such queries to identify electric blankets that are expected to have been the cause of a fire.
14th April 2013
Milestone - Over 20 Years of Electric Blanket Testing
GEMS engineers have been examining and testing electric blankets and therapeutic heat pads for over 20 years. It is estimated that in that time we have seen over 250,000 blankets and pads of all shapes and sizes. Whenever a different model is found, details are taken and the information added to our extensive database which now extends to over 2100 different types.
One of the oldest blankets seen dates back to the early 1950’s, a boxed Milliwatt Ltd single underblanket costing £6 1s 8d in old money, according to the accompanying price list. Electric blankets being a luxury item back then!