Cooking fires are the number one cause of home fires and related injuries. An unattended stove or oven is the biggest culprit.
America Now found a relatively new product that most fire departments and homeowners don't even know exists.
People who have discovered the StoveTop FireStop ® say it not only saved their home, it also saved their life.
Cooking dinner can turn into a disaster when grease gets enough heat and ignites into a small stovetop flame. It can all happened in a matter of minutes when you step away from a steaming pan of grease.
That scenario devastates thousands of homes and lives every year except in the kitchens where a small can called a StoveTop FireStop ® immediately extinguishes the flames.
"We thought we had a kitchen fire," says Firefighter Lane Bradford right after responding to a 911 call about a house fire.
Instead, he and his fellow firefighters with the Charlotte Fire Department only had a burnt-out burner and a pile of fire suppressant powder to clean up.
"It saved this occupant a lot of trouble," Lane says.
The StoveTop FireStop ® is no trouble to install. A magnet holds it tight and out of sight inside the vent hood over your stove.
The StoveTop FireStop ® will only open when flames reach the bottom of the canister.
Even if the resident is not in the kitchen at the time, they'll know there's a fire by the noise the small devices makes.
Comparable to a gun shot, most people think a criminal act has occurred when the canister activates. Most people are shocked to find out, the noise is just the result of food left unattended on the stove.
The pop of the metal has the fortunate side effect of waking people up, getting their attention, and saving their life.
"I would not own an apartment community without these," said Brent Sobol who owns Sobol Reality in Charlotte, NC.
After years of watching cooking fires destroy apartment units and entire buildings, Sobol decided to install fire stops in every kitchen he owns.
Fifty have gone off in the past five years, but instead of costing him hundreds of thousands of dollars in damages, a fire started in a pan, now only costs him a new stove and a few cabinets.
With fewer claims going to his insurance company, his premiums have plummeted.
"This is one of the most unbelievable things ever created for the apartment industry because it works," Sobol said.
While strictly designed for residential stovetop fires, keep in mind, the fire stop is still just a supplement.
"This doesn't take the place of good common sense," Lane warns.
Firefighters say you should never leave the stove unattended.
The StoveTop FireStop ® can act as a first line of defense, but one that first responders hope you never actually have to use.
Copyright 2012 America Now. All rights reserved.
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