IRVINE (CBS) — A 17-year-old senior at Woodbridge High School is exploring manufacturing possibilities for a pool safety device she invented in 5th grade.

Allison Plette  invented Safe Filter after her older sister pretended to be caught in the filter of their family pool.

“She would pretend she was caught in the filter, cause we’d heard about it on the news,” Allison said. “It scared me and she’s an older sister and so that’s what she does.”

Allison used that fear to create Safe Filter, a pool drain safety device that prevents drowning in a pool or spa when hair or a bathing suit strap is caught in the filter. The filter has a blade that cuts any hair that could get caught.

The device won Allison the Greenberg Traurig patent winner at the 2005 Astounding Inventions Competition, held each year at Irvine Valley College. Fast forward seven years, and Allison was awarded Patent No. US 7,996,931 B2.

“She’s the kind of student that goes out of her way to do the best she can,” math teacher Kent Metfessel said. “She’s always had an innovative way to go about things.”

Besides inventing life-saving devices, Allison likes to help people in her spare time. Her pet project is a clothing closet near campus for people who don’t have the proper clothes for job interviews.

“It is a program for disabled adults or financially disadvantaged who are trying to apply for job but don’t have interview-appropriate clothing,” Allison said.

Allison’s parents are now working on finding a manufacturer to explore how viable marketing Safe Filter will be.

Comments (17)
  1. michael says:

    That is one very smart and caring young lady. . . congratulations and I hope she makes a ton of money from her idea.”INVENTOR” is a great addition to your resume.

  2. Jon says:

    Hey kid, Obama wants 30% of the money you’re going to make off that thing.

  3. Marie says:

    What heartwarming story to end my long day! Love, love, loved it! The news can be so depressing sometimes…lets have some more local stories like this of all that is good in the world. I, too, hope she makes a ton of money off her idea because I can tell that she would make the world a better place with it. I would like to donate some of my gently used work wear to this young ladies “Clothing Closet”. Can the author of this story please post the address so we might contribute to her goal of helping disavantaged/disabled folks? Thank you.

    1. Sage says:

      Hi! The address of the Career Clothing Closet is
      311 West Yale Loop
      Irvine Ca, 92604

      You can address it to “The Career Closet”
      Thanks so much!

  4. ILLEGALS says:

    Disregard my comment above, wrong topic.. KCAL’s frequent refresh threw me off Topic..

    1. Jenny says:

      How thoughtful of you to write a follow-up comment about the refresh/computer glitch and misdirected comment. Very classy and very cool. Have a great 2012. 🙂

  5. null says:

    And she didn’t have to be an ILLEGAL to invent something or the next great innovation… as the line goes by Democrats Brown and Obama state over and over.

    We have super bright LEGAL Americans right here making great inventions!


    Good for her, good for the country, keep at it OC! Make us proud!

  6. brian says:

    A blade? What kind?

    Are you going to cut off someone’s intestines with it? some people have had their junk sucked out of their behinds and need diapers all day long. probably too late at that point

  7. john says:

    I don’t blame this girl for coming up with what to her probably seems like a reasonable solution. But it’s a horrible idea. It is far more likely that the “spinning blade” will tangle someones hair or “bathing suit strap” than the suction of the pump alone. It’s all great that everyone in this girls life who heard this idea wanted to give her a “you go girl” but the reality is that out side of her little “bubble of loving support” its a dangerous and stupid idea. Hopefully she’ll learn from this that you should not listen to closely to your supporters. Listen to your critics, they will be your best allies in the end.

    1. John Doe says:

      do you have a patent?

  8. Robert says:

    Well, first off congratulations on getting an interesting idea patented. As a pool professional for many years, I’m impressed. But that is not a “pool filter”. It is a modified suction outlet cover that must first become VGB Safety Act compliant. I’m confused that even she was calling this a “filter”. I suspect that she has had substantial help in the background otherwise she would’ve used the more than commonly understood correct terminology for what a suction outlet cover is. It is not in anyway a “filter”. I always expect the news media for getting details like that wrong. A major manufacturer of VGB compliant suction outlet covers may buy the patent rights and create a suction outlet cover that is both hair and body entrapment safe. Good going!!

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