Family share story of loss to spread awareness
A Puhoi family lost everything except a laptop in a fire caused by an extension cord, with one lamp attached. When they posted on social media to alert others to the risk of extension cords starting fires, they found that they were far from alone, with many others sharing similar stories.
National advisor of fire risk management Trent Fearnley said extension cords could catch fire in a couple of ways:
The first is when a cord is worn and the internal wires are either exposed or internally broken so that the positive and negative touch. This would cause a short which would result in overheating and cause the outer insulation to melt and catch on fire.
The second is that the female end becomes loose due to repeated plugging in and out over time. That looseness causes a gap between the male and female plug ends that creates an arc, which overheats and can catch on fire.
Fearnley said both causes of fire could have been prevented if the multi board had a safety overload device, which switches off the power when an overload is detected. He added that working smoke alarms in homes are essential to provide early warning in the event of a fire.