The Fire Mitt that two former Inglemoor High students created won them $50,000 in scholarships, as well as an expense-paid patent application.
A couple rips of Velcro, a shake or two and — boom — your kitchen potholder has become a fully functioning fire blanket.
The Fire Mitt, an invention created last year by two Inglemoor High School students, encases a fire blanket within an average-looking potholder just in case flames pop up from your stove. The students, now attending college in Arizona, won $50,000 for their creation.
“It’s easy to use and accessible,” Emma Spencer, 19, said. “A lot of current issues with (fire extinguishing) technology available today is it’s too advanced or too expensive.”
Most people have fire extinguishers, Scott Johnson, 20, pointed out, but many don’t know how to maintain them or even where they’re stored.
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Thanksgiving Day is known as a time that cooking fires flare. Fire departments in the U.S. responded to more than 1,700 such fires on the holiday in 2014, according to the National Fire Protection Association. That’s nearly four times the number on an average day.
Maybe it comes down to trying to juggle too many cuisine masterpieces at the same time, or maybe it’s a brief moment away from the stove while trying to soothe a family disagreement. Something about Thanksgiving creates danger in the kitchen.
During their senior year of high school, Spencer and Johnson heard about a scholarship contest from Project Paradigm, a California nonprofit that awards $250,000 to kids annually for their inventions.
The first year of the Paradigm Challenge, which Spencer and Johnson entered, centered on inventions to help with fire safety.
The Fire Mitt secured a $50,000 scholarship prize and an expense-paid patent application to make the mitt a reality.
“To me, it was interesting to find a way to make something that was going to work and would be really simple,” Spencer said.
The Fire Mitt looks and acts like a standard potholder, making it easy for people to store in their kitchens.
Spencer and Johnson are now roommates in Phoenix, where Spencer studies biomedical engineering at Arizona State University and Johnson studies marketing at Mesa College.
The Fire Mitt patent is pending, and Spencer and Johnson are working with Project Paradigm to set up manufacturing.
Their goal is to have the mitt up for sale for between $5 and $15 by next Thanksgiving.