400 unsafe fire blankets seized in Suffolk

25 August 2018, 06:00

Suffolk Trading Standards have seized 400 unsafe fire blankets from the Port of Felixstowe.

They say lives and properties have been potentially saved thanks to the confiscation.

The blankets' potentially counterfeit status became clear as they did not display the correct British Standard number and on closer inspection, were clearly of poor quality.

Fire blankets are often found in kitchens, cafes and offices and are used to smother small fires or to wrap around people. They work by starving the fire of oxygen, which puts out the flames.

One of the confiscated blankets was put to the test by Suffolk Trading Standards and the Suffolk Fire and Rescue Service in a controlled demonstration. It did not work as expected, it failed to extinguish the fire and, alarmingly, gave off potentially dangerous fumes.

Councillor Richard Rout, Suffolk County Council's cabinet member for Environment and Public Protection, said: "I'm disappointed that people think it is acceptable to manufacture and sell these counterfeit products. It shows a complete disregard for the lives of people who put their faith in these items, having bought them for emergency situations. The excellent work of our Trading Standards and Safety at Ports and Borders teams, means that people's lives and properties are safe from these dubious products."

Lord Toby Harris, Chair of National Trading Standards said: "This seizure clearly demonstrates the crucial work that the National Trading Standards Safety at Ports and Borders Team and Suffolk Trading Standards do. Had these fire blankets reached the market it is appalling to imagine what could have happened. It is no exaggeration to say that lives may well have been saved by our officers making this seizure."