HC Deb 24 November 1960 vol 630 cc1296-7
25. Miss Bacon

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many deaths in the last three years have been due to electric blankets and bed warmers; and how many fires have been caused in each of the last three years by the same appliances.

Mr. Vosper

The number of deaths reported in England, Wales and Scotland in which electric blankets were involved were: 1957, 1; 1958, 10; 1959, 7. The number of fires attended by fire brigades were: 1957, 244; 1958, 396. The figures for 1959 will be available shortly.

Miss Bacon

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that in the October issue of Which, the journal of the Consumers' Association, there was a survey of these electric blankets and bed warmers, which reported that 20 deaths had been caused in the last three years and that 2,600 of the fires reported to the insurance companies in one year alone were caused by electric blankets and bed warmers? Will he not agree that the whole position is most unsatisfactory, and will he see that better standards of safety are introduced?

Mr. Vosper

I have read that issue, as I read all issues, of Which. Two things I can say. First, the British Standards Institution is reviewing its specifications. In addition, my right hon. Friend is undertaking a survey of all fires caused by electric fires during the last two years, which will help us to produce better results.