MADISON (WKOW) – City of Madison firefighters responded to their second fire call this year that involves electric bedding.
Firefighters say the person living in an apartment at 1634 Kings Mill Way was able to put out the fire. In January, a fire involving an electric blanket caused about $5,000 in damages. In both cases, the fire started due to improper use of bedding. Firefighters say the electric blanket was "folded in a way that electrical coils were compromised."
The City of Madison Fire Department says there's no way to inspect an electric blanket for internal damage. Firefighters say if you think your blanket is not safe, you should stop using it.
The fire department has the following tips for safe electric blanket use:
1. Make sure your blanket has been approved by a nationally recognized testing agency.
2. Turn your blanket off when not in use; most models have no internal temperature control to shut the blanket off when it gets too hot.
3. Don't sit or lay on top of an electric blanket; this may damage the internal coils of the blanket and expose the heating element to a combustible material (the blanket).
4. Never pile toys, pillows, or stuffed animals on top of the blanket. They allow the heat to become excessive and build up to a point where it may become an ignition source.
5. Don't ball the blanket up and leave it on. This will also allow an excessive heat build up within the blanket.
6. Don't wash an electric blanket. The twisting, tugging, and turning action of the washing machine will most certainly damage the internal coils.
7. Be careful when folding the blanket to protect the internal coils. Do NOT tuck it under the mattress.
8. Unplug your blanket if you see smoke coming from it or if you notice discoloration of the blanket, which indicates it is burning internally.