Danger of Electric Blankets
For many people, there is nothing quite like the comfort of an electric blanket on a frigid winter night. If you hate the feeling of sliding into icy sheets at night, then you probably know the pleasure of flipping a switch and allowing your electric blanket to prepare a cozy spot for a night of good rest. But, are electric blankets really safe? Most of the time the answer is yes, electric blankets are a safe way to add a little extra comfort to your life. However, every years, for more than a few sound asleep and unsuspecting families using electric blankets, the at question is answered by the screams of FIRE when they awake in a bed of flames.
Despite their track record of being blamed for causing literally thousands of home fires and dozens of deaths horrific burn injuries, most people are unaware of the danger posed by these products. However, a search of the internet for news of electric blanket caused fires will reveal a surprising number of print and video news stories reporting house fires and deaths caused by what the fire investigator determined to be an electric blanket.
The fact is, there are fire risks in using an electric blanket. In fact, most electric blankets contain a safety circuit the sole and exclusive purpose of which is to try to prevent a fire when one of the known and expected fire-causing failure modes occurs in the product.
What Causes Electric Blanket Fires?
Simply put, there are two major causes of electric blanket fires.
1. Overheating of the heating element to the point of igniting combustible materials; and
2. Electric arcing of a broken electrical conductor, igniting combustible materials.
However, in certain makes and models of electric blankets there may be a third cause of a fire.
3. Overheating of an electrical component of the product, other than the heating element, to the point of igniting combustible materials.
With modern electric blankets the fires usually occur with no abuse or misuse of the product by the consumer, while using it according to its instructions. The fires occur with no warning, often after years of trouble free use.
Contrary to popular belief, and unfortunately not known by many fire investigators who wrongly blame the consumer for “misuse” of the product and causing the fire, the instructions for most modern electric blankets state that it acceptable to:
- Wash it in a home washing machine, and put it in a home clothes dryer;
- Tuck it in;
- Operate it when folded, bunched, or covered with another blanket, comforter or bed spread;
- Sleep on top of it or curl up with it in a chair or a couch.
However that was not always the case. Some of these now permissible uses of an electric blanket were the subject of warnings and potential fire danger in older style blankets. But how it the consumer to know one blanket from another? Often they cannot.
In a most modern electric blankets, even misuse or abuse of the product SHOULD not result in a fire, IF the safety circuitry included in the product functions as it is designed and intended to.
The United States Patent for the safety circuit that is included in more than 30 million electric blankets that were sold in the United States from the mid-1980s into the early 2000’s states:
The problem is, what if the safety circuit does not work as designed and intended?
As the U.S. Patent States: “If …….. a fire will occur.” Unfortunately all too often, thousands of times over the years, the safety circuit does not do it job, and a fire occurs.
If you have one of those older blankets, there is the potential for a fires caused by merely by bunching it up, tucking it in, or covering it. All of these uses are permissible in a newer model.
When a Blanket Fire Happens
If you have suffered fire damage to your home, and think that a defective electric blanket, heating pad, or any other defective electrical appliance may be the cause of the fire, you may be eligible for compensation from the manufacturer or seller of that defective product. We understand the trauma of house fires. But more importantly, we understand the design and manufacture of many electrical appliances, particularly electric blankets and heating pads. We know the legal architecture of electric blanket fire litigation having handled approximately 100 such cases across the country over the past 18 years. Attorney George McLaughlin, and the McLaughlin Law Firm, P.C., can help you recover compensation for:
- Personal injury
- Death of a loved one
- Loss of Personal Effects
- Damage or destruction of your home
Call us today at (720) 420-9800, or send an email to see how an expert product liability and personal injury lawyer can help you get the money you deserve to pay for the losses and damage you have suffered.