One mum who experienced the devastating consequences of overloading a power board is now sharing her story after her daughter's room caught on fire.
"Do not plug any heater into a power board!!!!" she told the CPR Kids.
"Do not think because you buy a quality power board it will be ok! It’s not, and wasn’t for us."
"Her room was completely full of smoke"
The mum had put her daughter to bed like she did every other night, but this night was one she'll never forget.
"Last night we experienced something that will truly rattle us for the rest of our lives," she said, explaining that her daughter "Margot’s power point in her room next to her cot caught fire."
"At 3am I woke up to her coughing and the horrible electrical burning smell. Her room was completely full of smoke. And she was covered in ash and soot. When I opened her door the smoke alarm went off in the hallway."
"To say I was hysterical would be understatement."
Thankfully, in this instance, no one was hurt.
"Someone was watching over us and her. Lessons have been learned. And we are extremely lucky," the mum said.
CPR Kids thanked the mum for sharing her story to help raise awareness about this common mistake.
"We know that there are likely a lot of people who aren't aware of this risk, so we are very grateful for this mama raising awareness and we are incredibly relieved to hear that everyone is okay - physically at least, we know this would have been devastating and hope you can all recover."
Don't plug a heater into a power board or extension cord
Before buying a portable heater, check the length of the cord to make sure it's long enough to be plugged in safely to a wall socket.
CHOICE product safety expert Kim Gilmour said, "Home heaters use a lot of energy. This means they can overload a power board or extension lead and potentially cause a fire. We strongly recommend that home heaters are always plugged directly into a wall socket to ensure they are safe."
According to the NSW fire and rescue website, poor maintenance and incorrect usage of power boards is a common cause of home and office fires.
Power board safety tips
Here are their top tips for using a power board safely:
- Only use power boards with built in safety switches/circuit breakers.
- Do not overload the power board.
- Place power boards on their sides to prevent dust build up in unused points.
- Check that all plugs are firmly fixed in power boards.
- Make sure there is adequate ventilation around the power board.
- Regularly inspect power boards for signs of damage.