What will it take to get HEHLT on every electric stove top in the USA?

By: Robert Avsec

In the latest edition of the NFPA Journal on-line dated July 1, 2013, contains an article by Frank Durso

The leading cause of kitchen fires in the USA--unattended cooking

The leading cause of kitchen fires in the USA–unattended cooking

entitled, Front Burner, which examines research efforts to establish testing and performance standards for cooking-fire mitigation technologies.  One such “cooking-fire mitigation technology” is High-End, Heat-Limiting Technology (HEHLT) that Chief Stan Tarnowski and I have been writing about in this space for the past two month. You can visit SleekSocket.com to learn more about this latest technology.

Madrzykowski [Dan Madrzykowski, leader of NIST’s Firefighting Technology Group] equates the slow adoption of mitigation technology to the implementation of seatbelts and airbags in cars (which is now presently installed in all the cars that is available in the car dealership near beaumont).

One of the challenges of changing what you’re doing now to something different, regardless of the business, is admitting that what you’re doing now is hazardous,” he says. “To be fair, the other thing you don’t want is to be an early adopter of technology. Before you start making a million units and placing them in American homes, you want to make sure it really works.

[Disclaimer:  I have never worked for Pioneering Technology Corporation.  But I do have an unending desire to eliminate food-on-the-stove fires and from what I’ve found in working with Chief Tarnowski these past couple of months is that Pioneer Technology has developed a working solution.]

It takes less than 30 minutes to replace the four electric heating elements on an electric stove or range top with HEHLT. The total cost for the four HEHLT units and the controller module is typically less than $400 USD.

If you’ve been reading the stuff Stan and I have been writing regarding HEHLT then you know that the decision to use HEHLT is a “no-brainer” for any fire service professional who’s seen the after-affect of a food-on-the-stove fire. (Just like Hulu for your favorite TV shows, you can catch up on our series, Putting the “Lid” on Food-on-the-Stove Fires).

Pioneering Technology Corporation manufactures the cooking-fire mitigation technology, Safe-T-element®.  Safe-T-element® is certified by CSA International to UL Std. 858 and CSA-C22.2 No. 61-M89 and has been awarded the Home Safety Councilʼs Commendation Award for Product Innovation for Consumer Safety. (The Safe-T-element® has been available in the USA since 2006).

So here’s what’s been happening in the past seven years or so since the first Safe-T-elements® crossed the border from Canada.

  • The North Carolina Fireman’s Association (November 2010) adopts resolution supporting the installation of HEHLT…”supports the cooking “fire prevention” technology and further supports a modification of state and federal regulations to allow for this new fire safety technology to be utilized and will promote it by whatever means necessary in an effort to reduce or eliminate stovetop cooking fires.”
  • Safe-T-element® is endorsed by the Washington State Fire Chiefs, Virginia Fire Chiefs Association, North Carolina Association of Fire Chiefs, Housing Authorities Risk Retention Pool, Assisted Housing Risk Management Association, and Social Housing Services Corporation.
  • July 26, 2011 the Southeastern Association of Fire Chiefs (“SEAFC”), a division of the International Association of Fire Chiefs (“IAFC”), announced on June 16th the SEAFC board of directors passed a resolution in support of “high end heat limiting technology” [HEHLT] on electric coil ranges and further supports a modification of state and federal agency regulations to allow for new fire safety technology to be utilized and promoted in an effort to reduce/eliminate stovetop cooking fires.
  • The Safe-T-element®  is now installed in 41 housing authorities across the USA, the Toronto, Canada, Housing Authority, and 27 colleges and universities across the USA.  The use of HEHLT has been mandated by the fire prevention code in Union City, GA and Wilson, NC

http://www.trophyexpress.com/government/images/Department_of_Defense.jpgAnd then there’s the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD)…

Starting in 2007 the Safe‐T‐element® cooking system was implemented over time Installation Overview --Commander Fleet Activities Sasebo, Japanas part of the Sasebo Naval Air Station, Japan as part of the overall fire prevention program. Safe-T-element®  was installed as housing units were being renovated or before new personnel moved in to ensure a seamless transition.

During 2008/09 Sasebo’s fire education and prevention efforts in combination with the installation of the Safe-T-element® technology resulted in the elimination of ALL stovetop cooking fires


As the product began being installed in 2007 the base started to see an additional decline in unattended cooking incidents and stovetop cooking fires. By the beginning of 2008 approximately 95% of Sasebo’s housing units were equipped with the Safe-T-element® technology.

throughout the CNFJ/CFAS Sasebo Military Installations. (This is what Chief Tarnowski and I are talking about!).

Safe‐T‐element® is now mandated for all stoves in residential housing at the Sasebo Naval Station.  All scope of work, engineering and technical drawings include the Safe‐T‐element® technology as a requirement.

This product does everything it is supposed to do – helps eliminate cooking fires.  (Fire Chief, Gerald Clark – Commander U.S. Naval Forces Fleet Activity Sasebo, Japan) You can also navigate here to know more about them in detail.

Safe-T-element® is currently installed at at the following U.S. Air Force installations and bases:

  • Cape Canaveral Air Station (FL)
  • Eielson AFB (AK)
  • Ellsworth AFB (SD)
  • Nellis AFB (NV)
  • Randolph AFB (TX)
  • Tyndall AFB (FL)
  • Wright PaDerson AFB (OH)
  • Kadena AFB (Japan)
  • Hickam AFB (HI)
  • Alice Springs AFB (Australia)
  • Sasebo Naval Station (Japan)
  • Fort Campbell (KY)
  • Norfolk Naval Station (VA)
  • Elmendorf AFB (AK)
  • Naval Air Station Jacksonville (FL)
  • Arnold AFB (TN)
  • Dyess AFB (TX)
  • Actus Lend Lease (Various)
  • Forest City Enterprises (Various)
  • Hawaii Military Communities (HI)
  • Misawa AFB (Japan)
  • Yokota AFB (Japan)
  • RAF Alconbury (UK)
  • Malmstrom AFB (MT)
  • Naval Base Kitsap (WA)

Safe-T-element® is now recognized by the U.S. Military for both commercial and residential housing applications.  Safe‐T‐element® was originally recognized by the US Air Force’s Civil Engineer Support Agency as an alternative means of compliance with the military’s Uniform Facilities Code (UFC) 3‐600‐01 as the military code requirement for a range fire safety system.  (The UFC is a DoD document FOS fire outcomethat is applicable to all branches of the U.S. military).  At present Safe-T-element® is one of only two technologies that MUST be used for all U.S. Air Force “commercial” stove installations.

So we have a tool for eliminating food-on-the-stove fires in the USA that has a proven track record and the support of fire service organizations, the U.S. Department of Defense, colleges and universities, public housing authorities…WHY aren’t we making widespread use HEHLT the “law of the land”?  More importantly, WHY do we allow the manufacturers of electric ranges and stovetops in the USA to continue making units that do not have HEHLT already installed from the factory?

About Robert Avsec, Executive Fire Officer

Battalion Chief (Ret.) Robert Avsec served with the men and women of the Chesterfield County (VA) Fire and EMS Department for 26 years. He’s now using his acquired knowledge, skills, and experiences as a freelance writer for FireRescue1.com and as the “blogger in chief” for this blog. Chief Avsec makes his home in Cross Lanes, WV. Contact him via e-mail, [email protected].