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Fire Avert guards your home against fire when you're not around

By

September 22, 2012

Originally called the Active Alarm, the Fire Avert is a fire safety device

Originally called the Active Alarm, the Fire Avert is a fire safety device

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The smoke alarm is a standard part of home safety equipment. But what if you step out and aren't there to hear it going off? The Fire Avert steps in where the smoke alarm leaves off, helping to prevent kitchen fires.

The Fire Avert plugs into the 220-volt electrical outlet and the stove. Its microphone picks up the sound of the smoke alarm, and it cuts power to the stove when activated by the alarm frequency. According to the company, food and cookware can simmer and smoke for hours before igniting into a fire. By shutting power off right away, the Fire Avert aims to eliminate the heat source before a fire starts burning. To reset the stove and Fire Avert, you simply flip the breaker in your electrical panel off and on without having to pull the stove out from the wall.

The Fire Avert includes a built-in 3-minute delay that gives an attendant cook enough time to clear out the smoke and shut off the alarm. If the smoke alarm stops sounding within three minutes, the Fire Avert never cuts power to the stove. This way, the stove doesn't shut off while you're actively cooking, only if the alarm continues sounding for three minutes (i.e. no one is there to shut it off).

If you're not familiar with fire statistics, you're probably thinking something along the lines of "wouldn't you hear the smoke detector and shut off the stove yourself, without the need for something like the Active Alarm?" In an ideal scenario, you certainly would, but unattended cooking is a very common cause of home fires. The U.S. Fire Administration says that unattended cooking is the leading cause of kitchen fires, and Fire Avert claims that 150,000 fires each year are attributable to unattended cooking. While a smoke alarm is an important piece of equipment, it can't overcome all distraction and forgetfulness.

The Fire Avert sits between the stove and electrical outlet, cutting power when the smoke ...

Peter Thorpe, a firefighter in Provo, Utah, conceived the idea for the Fire Avert after responding to numerous unattended cooking fires. He reached out to his friend and engineering graduate student Michael Sanders, who also developed the FlexLeg, for help in fleshing out the design. Sanders and Brigham Young University engineering peer Zack Bomsta have worked through several prototypes and are in the process of developing the final consumer-ready model. They have turned to Indiegogo to raise the US$30,000 worth of funds they'll need to pursue the retail version. They hope to have Fire Avert ready for shipment by the second quarter of next year with an estimated retail price of around $90.

The Fire Avert currently works only with electric stoves with a 220-volt power supply. A gas version is said to be in the works.

The device was originally slated to be the "Active Alarm," but Thorpe told us a re-branding to "Fire Avert" is underway. The website link still has it described as the Active Alarm, but the device is one and the same.

Source: Fire Avert (Active Alarm)

About the Author
C.C. Weiss Upon graduating college with a poli sci degree, Chris toiled in the political world for several years. Realizing he was better off making cynical comments from afar than actually getting involved in all that mess, he turned away from matters of government and news to cover the things that really matter: outdoor recreation, cool cars, technology, wild gadgets and all forms of other toys. He's happily following the wisdom of his father who told him that if you find something you love to do, it won't really be work.   All articles by C.C. Weiss
13 Comments

Better idea: go with induction cookers. My induction cooker has automatic shutoff if the cookware overheats, such as when food cooks dry. It also has a timer if I want to simmer something for a few hours. Those advantages are on top of the inherent speed and energy efficiency advantages induction cooking has over electric stoves.

Gadgeteer
22nd September, 2012 @ 10:53 pm PDT

Yet another way to protect humans from themselves.

It seems that each year we get more and more nannys to protect us from ourselves. Though in reality, these devices make us more reliant on technology, give us the false belief that we can multitask and degrade the value of common sense even further.

Rt1583
23rd September, 2012 @ 08:36 pm PDT

Rt1583 misses the point. This device isn't about multitasking or nannying, but about the many older people who live alone and who are a bit forgetful. For them, a low cost device such as this will be very reassuring. Also, Gadgeteer, those older people are the generation for whom switching to a stove with an induction hob would be seen as a more expensive and less desirable option owing to have to buy new pans and having to learn to cook with a more responsive heat . What's more, an induction hob often comes with a conventionally heated oven that may also be left on.

By the way, there is already a thermal gas shutoff valve available in parts of Europe.

Steve Hards

Editor, Telecare Aware

stevehards
24th September, 2012 @ 08:16 am PDT

I've got a pot with Nagasaki rice profiles on it to prove the need for this device...

Jay Donnaway
24th September, 2012 @ 09:57 am PDT

Agree wth Steve.

It's not really "nannying," you have to make the decision to go out and buy one.

And Gadgeteer's solution is awesome, if you want to go out and buy a new stove or separate coil for as much or more instead of using the stove you already have. Wasteful.

Joe F
24th September, 2012 @ 02:26 pm PDT

I am glad to see some recognition given to products like this as they could save a lot of lives. They also make fire extinguishers for the cooktop that magnetize under the rangehood and work when flame-activated in case someone walks away while cooking. There's one called Auto-Out that lasts for six years and it's maintenance free. You can find it for $54 on Amazon.com.

Facebook User
24th September, 2012 @ 02:59 pm PDT

Joe F,

Wasteful? Electric stoves are some of the most inefficient appliances in the kitchen, using far more electricity than induction cookers. In the summer, they can contribute copious amounts of heat to the kitchen environment, heat that air conditioners have to work harder to eliminate. And standalone induction cookers can be purchased for as little as $50 nowadays, not exactly "as much or more" as this $90 gadget.

I find stevehards attitude puzzling. He instantly assumes it's for the elderly, and apparently only the elderly of limited means. Having to buy new pans? Among other things, the older generation is more likely to already own induction-friendly steel and cast iron pans rather than nonstick aluminum. Meanwhile, the affluent younger consumers (and even affluent retirees) that he dismisses are more likely to own convection or convection-microwave ovens, which also include full electronic controls with timers. Most oven cooking is done with microwave ovens today anyway, which again have timers.

Gadgeteer
24th September, 2012 @ 08:24 pm PDT

I was wondering about the three minute figure.

How long does it take a fat fire to go from smoke to a raging inferno?

Wombat56
24th September, 2012 @ 10:50 pm PDT

Domestic kitchen fires are the second most cause of injury and death after smoking within the home, so any technology that can reduce these figures is to be welcomed.

I work closely with a manufacturer and represent them in the UK, they have developed a similar product and take two approaches to managing potential cooker top fires.

The first is a stand alone Stove Alarm which monitors the cooker top activity and sounds an alert, it is not affected by normal cooking and sensitivity can be adjusted to suit local conditions.

The second approach is an integrated cooker system which has a radio frequency version of the Stove Alarm to not only sound the alert but will after 1 minute send a radio signal to the Stove Guard to turn off the cooker supply, so extinguishing the source of ignition. The Stove Guard will also react to the audible signals from other detectors such as smoke, CO2, Gas etc and turn off the cooker supply. In addition there is an alarm jack plug output to allow connection of a Telecare transmitter which can then communicate with a lifeline telephone and hence to a monitoring centre if so desired.

Mike Orton
25th September, 2012 @ 07:49 am PDT

Yes, Gadgeteer I find buying a new appliance when you have one that works wasteful. If someone replaces their stove, it might just end up a big appliance in a big dump. Just because you can get a cheap entry one for 50 bucks, doesn't mean that many of them don't cost "as much or more" than $90. So if you like cooking with your stove, why would you buy an induction stove that you don't want instead of just buying this? Because Gadgeteer likes it better?

Joe F
25th September, 2012 @ 03:28 pm PDT

Joe F,

You're making quite a lot of assumptions there, for instance that people "like" cooking with their electric stoves or that electric stoves and induction cookers can't co-exist in one kitchen. Maybe they do and maybe they don't, but you only see one side. Because Joe F likes it better?

FYI, quite a few non-entry level 1800-watt induction cookers are available for under $90, and they all have electronic controls. This "wasteful" appliance not only saves electricity and can shut itself off if it overheats, it's also safer for the user since it has no open flames or red-hot heating elements, and it's easier to clean since the glass top wipes clean and never has to be scrubbed.

Gadgeteer
25th September, 2012 @ 05:15 pm PDT

Maybe our lines are crossed. I'm not saying that there's anything wrong with buying an induction cooker if you want. I'm saying it's not automaticaly a better idea than buying this thing. If people want to get an induction cooker, good for 'em--but many are perfectly happy using their own stove. Those under $90 induction coils are mostly single burners. So let's qualify--it's a "better idea" if you want to not use your own stove, buy and store a new type stove and only cook one thing at a time.

Joe F
26th September, 2012 @ 12:43 am PDT

@ stevehards

What the designer has envisioned for, and how the consumer utilizes, a given device are generally vastly different concepts. I'm all for making our environment as safe as possible, as long as those safety devices don't make it so that the operator doesn't have to think about what they are doing.

This device is a great idea for that portion of the population that you mentioned but what about the rest of the consumers who are forgetful (inattentive) because they are simply trying to do multiple tasks when they should be paying attention to the one task that could potentially bring them harm? My idea of a technological nanny comes from this second group who adopt some technology simply because of a perceived convenience to make their lives easier or so that they have one less thing to think about.

Rt1583
26th September, 2012 @ 01:25 am PDT
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