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Advancing kitchen safety with Unicook

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The role of stove guard technology in fire prevention and the challenges of BS EN 50615 (B) Standard adoption, by John Collins, Technical Manager at Unicook

The evolution of fire safety measures and technologies has been fundamental in protecting lives and properties from the devastating impact of fires.

Among these advancements, stove guard technology emerges as a key innovation aimed at preventing fires at their source.

Despite its potential, integrating such technologies into mainstream fire safety strategies, especially within the framework of the BS EN 50615 (B) standard, faces distinct challenges, particularly from the perspective of fire services’ recommendations.

When discussing the progress in fire safety, particularly within the context of kitchen environments, BS EN 50615 (B) occupies a significant role.

This standard is specifically designed to address the prevention of fires in electric hobs, setting out criteria for technologies that can detect hazardous situations before they turn into flames.

Among these technologies, stove guard systems are recognised as a groundbreaking measure to reduce the risk of cooking-related fires.

Despite the clear benefits these systems offer, there’s a noticeable gap in their endorsement by fire services, a situation that warrants further exploration.

In the United Kingdom, cooking fires are not merely a minor concern; they are a leading cause of domestic fires, accounting for approximately 50% of all domestic fire incidents.

This alarming statistic underscores the critical need for preventative measures in the kitchen, strengthening the case for broader acceptance and implementation of technologies like stove guards, which conform to BS EN 50615 (B) standards, even more compelling.

By targeting the root cause of half of the domestic fires, stove guard technology becomes a crucial element in significantly reducing the overall number of fires, highlighting the importance of proactive fire safety measures in protecting homes and lives.

Stove guard technology is based on the principle of preventing fires before they begin.

Unlike traditional fire alarms that activate once a fire has already started, stove guards monitor cooking activities and can automatically shut off the power supply to prevent overheating and potential ignition.

This proactive approach aligns with insights gained from various fire services, which emphasise the importance of preventing fires rather than simply responding to them.

Hesitation to engage

However, despite recognising their utility, there’s a palpable hesitation among fire services to officially recommend stove guard systems.

This reluctance can be attributed to several factors.

Firstly, the novelty of the technology means that comprehensive data on its long-term effectiveness and reliability is still being collected.

Fire services, tasked with public safety, may require more extensive evidence before making formal recommendations.

This can be problematic in some services who opt for non-data driven, or high-level data driven approaches to fire management.

Additionally, there’s the challenge of standardisation and regulation.

BS EN 50615 (B) provides a robust framework for the prevention of ignition from electric hobs, yet applying this standard across different jurisdictions and integrating new technologies into existing safety protocols can be complex.

Fire services might be navigating these regulatory landscapes, ensuring that any endorsements align with broader safety standards and legal requirements.

The situation is further complicated by the varied outlook of fire and rescue services with stove guard technology.

While some have adopted these systems and reported significant reductions in cooking-related fires and false alarms, others may still be evaluating their impact or are less open to adopting newer technologies.

This disparity in adoption and outcomes can influence the overall perception and recommendation of stove guard technologies within the fire safety community.


To bridge this gap, a collaborative effort between technology developers, fire services, and safety standard bodies is essential.

Increased transparency in sharing data on the effectiveness of stove guard systems, combined with ongoing dialogue about their integration into fire safety practices, can foster a more unified approach to preventing kitchen fires.

Moreover, public education campaigns highlighting the benefits of proactive fire prevention measures could shift consumer demand, encouraging more widespread adoption of stove guard technologies.

For fire safety professionals and publicists, the current landscape presents an opportunity to lead discussions on innovative fire prevention strategies.

By exploring the potential of stove guard technology within the framework of BS EN 50615 (B), there’s a chance to not only enhance safety standards but also to redefine our approach to fire safety in the kitchen.

As we move forward, the goal should be to cultivate an environment where the adoption of preventative technologies is driven by clear evidence, regulatory support, and a shared commitment to reducing the incidence and impact of fires.

This article was originally published in the May 2024 issue of International Fire & Safety Journal. To read your FREE digital copy, click here.

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