Firefighters know a great deal about preventing fires, and one local fireman has gone the extra mile to protect many homes. Peter Thorpe, a Provo fire paramedic experiences several different incidents every week with kitchen fires. Most of the time its just from the home owner forgetting they have their stove or oven on. Over a year and a half ago Thorpe came up with the idea to create a device that could prevent this issue from happening.
“Last year I had the idea, ‘why can’t the smoke alarm communicate with the stove and turn off’, so I had the idea and thought about it and said wow this can really help a lot of people,” Thorpe said.
So with his plan in mind Thorpe got together with some friends who have experience with mechanical and electrical engineering to create what he calls the Active Alarm. The alarm goes behind the stove, and it will be able to give a consumer fair warning before a home fire begins. Once something on the stove or oven overheats and sets the smoke detector off, the Active Alarm will set a timer to give the consumer a three minute time slot to recover the situation. If nothing is recovered the alarm will set the stove off.
Thorpe explains, “When the smoke alarm goes off, our device sets off a timer, it has a three minute timer, so we want you, we don’t just want to shut off power, we want you to open your windows and fan it and turn the stove off yourself.”
Thorpe says kitchen fires are the number one cause of home fires in the United States, so the engineers and him feel that this endeavor is for a good cause.
One of the engineers for the Active Alarm, Michael Sanders, says he is grateful he is part of this team that can create a device that could prevent kitchen fires.
“Everyone wants to feel like what they do matters, and this is one of those things that obviously makes a difference to people, to prevent these fires,” Sanders says.
Thorpe and the engineers sent the Active Alarm to the manufacturers with January as the target date to be in stores.