On an unassuming day a few years back, Mike Ransom and his family were going about their usual routine.
“My wife was busy making lunch and then realized our son had swimming lessons,” Ransom told The Brent Loucks Show Monday.
“So out the door she went, and forgot the pot of noodles cooking there on the stove.”
Ransom said he happened to forget his wallet at home that morning, and doubled-back to retrieve it.
“Open the front door and there my house was, full of smoke,” he said.
While the worst was prevented that day, the close call led Ransom, a journeyman electrician, to develop a special device to help in similar situations.
Along with business partner, Jackie Martin, the duo from Viking Innovations created The Dalmatian home fire protection system: a control panel that connects the smoke alarm with the stove and kitchen-countertop appliances.
When the alarm is activated, the connected appliances and outlets shut off; with no electricity or heat, kitchen fires are far less likely to start or spread.
Ransom said statistics show the most likely place for a fire to start inside a home is in the kitchen, due to unattended cooking.
“Smoke detectors are great – everybody needs them – but if you’re not around to hear them, they’re not doing you much good,” he said.
The idea helped Ransom and Martin win the grand prize in the 2016 University of Saskatchewan Tech Venture Challenge.
“They helped us work on our business plan and our business model and just a bunch of mentoring, and that stuff is just priceless,” he said.
Additionally, the company will receive $50,000 from the U of S Industry Liaison Office; one year of office space at Innovation Place valued at more than $10,000, and professional business services valued at $7,000 from PwC.
Any home with wired-in smoke detectors can have The Dalmatian adapted for use.
Ransom said, in most cases, an electrician will even retrofit the product for homes with pre-existing detectors.
Viking Innovations can also outfit other outlets in the home with the system; Ransom said many people have expressed interest in having The Dalmatian installed in the bathroom to shut off curling irons.
People can also activate the system remotely through a cellphone app the company developed to help ease concerns for anyone who may have left on an appliance.
The initial price for The Dalmatian is $300, not including an install fee.
Anyone interested in buying one of the systems can do so online through Viking Innovations.