By Cara Sulieman
A SPRINKLER that can be built into a kitchen tap has won a prestigious design prize.
The Automist – which detects heat and sprays out water mist in all directions – scooped the top spot in the James Dyson Award.
It comes as a record number of fire related deaths are reported in Scotland and the cost of fire damage also hits an all time high.
Project designers, Royal College of Art graduates Yusuf Mohammed and Paul Thomas, have now formed a company to produce the device for the mass market and carry out more testing.
The unit fits in underneath existing taps and is triggered by a heat sensor, letting off a cloud of mist in to the kitchen – the room where 60 per cent of domestic fires originate.
The product is designed to work automatically and to be cheap to install – two things that came up as important in the pair’s research.
Mohammed said: “We learned that fire extinguishers can sometimes actually be a hazard, because people stay and try to fight the fire rather than just getting out. We wanted to design something that would use a completely different approach.
“This would cost a lot less than putting in a mains sprinkler system, where the building work and the piping can be intrusive as well as the unit can be fitted to any existing kitchen tap.”
“Simple and clever”
Fire safety remains a huge concern in Scotland – with 57 people dying in fires in 2007, the latest figures available.
And it’s hoped the device could be adopted across the country to save lives.
Congratulating the pair on their award, James Dyson, said that it was “simple and clever”.
He said: “This device should become a permanent safety feature in the home. Smoke alarms are essential part of modern life but have remained fundamentally unchanged for forty years.
“Automist not only detects a fire but can put it out as well.”
Statistics from the Association of British Insurers out today (Tues) show that fire-related claims have risen by 20 per cent in the last two years.
Allister Smith, property risk manager for insurance form Aviva, said sprinkler systems were an effective resource.
He said: “It is important to maintain the efficiency of, or upgrade, the sprinkler systems.”