WINSTON-SALEM, NC – A simple device can keep you from losing your home in a cooking fire.
During the first week of June, fire suppressors saved three Winston-Salem homes from fires.
First things first, what’s a fire suppressor? Known by the brand name Stovetop FireStop, the device is an automatic stovetop fire extinguisher that attached magnetically under the vent hood. When a stovetop fire occurs, the flame reaches the device, and a fire suppressing powder is automatically released.
The device has a five-year shelf life, deploys in seconds and costs anywhere from $46 to $60 dollars online and at home improvements stores.
The Winston-Salem Fire Department received money from the city to buy 500 of them in 2016. They began installing them in certain neighborhoods in October of 2016 and so far, have installed close to 350.
“Literally have been knocking on the doors in these areas, letting people know about this device, asking if they want them and installing them there on the spot,” said Sabrina Stove, Senior Community Educator for WSFD.
The department teamed up with the housing authority to have some installed. They also installed them in neighborhoods that have the highest risk of fires based on research. Many of them homes had elderly residents, multiple family units and residents who had another first language other than English, according to Stowe.
Fire reports obtained by News 2, showed the three recent fires all started relatively the same; oil, grease or food left unattended on the stove. In all three cases, the victims left the room for a minute or so, and the fire started in that time frame. The fires were all contained by the fire suppression device.
While the devices were installed in areas considered high risk, Stove added they have over 100 left for anyone who wants one for free. from the fire department.
“Everyone has a stove,” she said. “Everyone is at risk of having a cooking fire.”
The WSFD plans to ask for more devices at the beginning of the fiscal year in July. If they run out before them, they will simply place people on a waiting list. Stowe said she’s hopes the devices will become a mandatory deceive.
“We’re hoping that it would be just like smoke alarms just something that’s required that everyone has and that’s second nature to have it.”
Stowe explained the device is the difference between wiping up a powder the device emits after a fire or having several thousand dollars in damage.