It’s that time of year again when all you want to do is rug up and stay warm inside your home or workplace. When you’re working on warming up your space, you need to be aware of portable appliance safety. There are a number of extra appliances we use during the winter months – check out the rest of our post to find out how to stay safe this winter. 

What is a portable appliance? 

If it plugs in a socket and can be moved around your space, it is a portable appliance. During winter, our technicians use portable appliance testers to inspect heaters, dehumidifiers, kettles, coffee machines, electric blankets, heated clothing drying racks, power boards, extension cords, and more. We’ve listed some of the most common appliances below and our best winter portable appliance safety tips to help you stay safe. 


Did you know that portable heaters have currency ratings? This means that if you’re going to use an extension cord or power board with your device, it needs to be of the same or higher currency rating. This will stop the circuit from overheating and causing a fire. 

At Jim’s Test & Tag, we see this issue all the time. Too many people are burning their sockets because their heater is plugged into a power board or extension cord. If possible, we recommend that you always plug your portable heaters and fans into the wall to avoid an electrical fire. 

Electric Blankets 

In the last 12 months, there have been 105 heater fires and 9 electric blanket fires. 

Just this month, there was a fatality involving an electric blanket. Fire and Emergency national adviser for fire risk management Peter Gallagher said the death was a tragic reminder to people to take care combating winter chills.

If you have an electric blanket that is more than 5 years old, consider replacing it or having it tested. When seeking a replacement, make sure you purchase one from a reputable manufacturer. Don’t leave the blanket on whilst the bed is in use or when you’re not at home. 

For more information, take a look at Jim’s Fire Safety website. Our technicians complete all inspections according to the current New Zealand test and tag regulations. 


Dehumidifiers always increase in popularity over the cooler months. They are really helpful for asthma sufferers who need reduced moisture in the air. They can also help with mould reduction and prevention. 

If you’re using a dehumidifier to get rid of added winter moisture, you can follow these portable appliance safety tips in your home or workplace. 

  • don’t run your dehumidifier when you’re not in the building 
  • empty the water before moving your device 
  • check the plug for burn marks and overheating 
  • register your device for updates on product recalls 

Cooking Equipment 

It’s safe to say that if you’re cold on the outside you are cold on the inside. Warming up your food is a great way to increase your body temperature, but you need to make sure your cooking appliances are safe. Kettles, microwaves, coffee machines, and sandwich press machines can increase workplace burns when they aren’t used carefully. They can also be the cause of electrical shock or fire if they aren’t maintained regularly. To increase portable appliance safety in the kitchen, invest in regular inspection services. 

Call us now for an inspection

At Jim’s Test & Tag, our technicians know how to test and tag electrical equipment according to the national safety standards. You can rest assured that your workplace will be safe this winter when you ask us to come and check your portable appliances. Call us now on 0800 454 654 today.