FIREFIGHTERS are urging people to check their electric blankets are safe before they plug them in.

According to Age UK, damaged electric blankets cause more than 5‚000 house fires a year and people aged 65 or more are at greatest risk.

Pete Wilson, head of community safety for West Midlands Fire Service, said: “Electric blankets aren’t as popular as they used to be, but they are still around.

"Older people are particularly at risk from the cold weather, and many still have an electric blanket in their cupboard or on their bed."

He continued: "You should replace your blanket at least every 10 years. It’s very important that they’re tested regularly by a suitably qualified electrician.

"If you know someone elderly or vulnerable who might use one, encourage or help them to get theirs tested, too.” Electric blanket danger signs include fraying fabric, scorch marks, exposed elements and a worn flex.