LARKSPUR, Colo. — Based on Colorado's current drought condition, it could be another busy season for firefighters.
But, a Larkspur man is working on a device to protect you, your family, and your property when the flames hit too close to home.
It's called Auto Fire Guard.
As a volunteer firefighter, Grant Van Der Jagt says he saw too many tragedies and stories of people who couldn't find or reach a fire extinguisher in time.
"Every one of us becomes disabled when we're in a fire," he said.
He also saw several instances of people who lost property because they weren't home at the time of the fire.
"If you had a fire at home, my guess is your fire extinguisher at home would do nothing because you're (not home)," Van Der Jagt said.
So, he decided to solve both problems with one device — a decorative ball called the Auto Fire Guard.
"You place (it) where a fire is likely and that's it," Van Der Jagt said. "It activates completely on its own."
The Auto Fire Guard is a water-tight, Styrofoam ball filled with a food-grade salt, and shrink-wrap sealed in several designs.
"This is a dry chemical system that is non-toxic," Van Der Jagt said. "It's safe and it works. It stops fire instantly on contact."
The system activates when flames touch the sensors and cause the ball to burst, much like a balloon. It can put out a fire on its own, clear the air, and wake you up so you can escape safely.
"It does set off an alarm — something audible you can hear," Van Der Jagt said. "The top cause of death in a fire is carbon monoxide. Here, we're removing that, and we're actually purifying the air back into oxygen."
Van Der Jagt said he recommends putting the fire ball in vehicle engines, and behind kitchen and laundry room appliances.
He also said you could put them in trees or line your fence in case of wildfire.
"Unattended camp fires are one of the top causes of fire in this state," he said. "If campsites, for example, had this at every campsite, there's a chance we could stop most fires in Colorado."
It's an unassuming layer of protection giving you peace of mind when seconds count.
The components of the Auto Fire Guard Fireball product are 99% UL-certified by weight. They come with a 15-year warranty, but Van Der Jagt said the Fireball never really expires.
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