I just plugged the yellow power strip that lives on the center table back into the ceiling outlet. The fire inspector doesn’t like power strips to be daisy chained into other power strips, and I like to keep the fire inspector happy.
The ceiling outlet is tied to the wall switch, which can cause problems when expecting things to be powered and then they are not. I don’t think the inspector cares about which outlet the strip is powered by, just that it has a circuit breaker that goes with the thickness of wire it sports.
This is clearly a matter for debate among fire inspectors, as I have been told in other circumstances that daisy-chaining power strips is OK as long as each power strip has it’s own built-in over-current protection device.
If we aren’t allowed to daisy-chain power strips, then we will have to redo a lot of the set-up on the east wall, which has a lot of power strips daisy-chained, and which he didn’t complain about. We would need to have a lot more wall outlets installed, to start with.
My research into the matter shows that the fire codes treat power strips and extension cords as very different things, subject to different rules. Extension cords are temporary devices, while power strips can be used for permanent installations, for instance. While I found things directly addressing mixing power strips and extension cords in a chain (don’t, code violation), nothing I found specifically settled the daisy chained powerstrip issue.
Buddha is correct: the inspector wasn’t concerned about daisy-chained power strips. (We define power strips as having circuit breakers, a cord that can be long or short, and can be considered permanent; extension cords don’t have circuit breakers and are temporary). The main issue the inspector was concerned about is an extension cord with a power strip on the end (such as we used to have on the table). Such a configuration is dangerous because the extension cord part can be overloaded by multiple appliances and catch fire before the power strip circuit breaker trips. Our new table top device is technically a power strip with a very long tail so that is okay.
A secondary concern of the inspector is that we don’t leave extension cords in a permanent-looking spot, such as draped around pipes or tied to things. I suggest we have a storage rack for extension cords so we can put them away when done.
Sorry it’s been difficult to pass on what John said. If there is any confusion please consult him directly.