Lumkani has developed an early-warning system to reduce the damage and destruction caused by the spread of shack/slum fires in urban informal settlements
Many cooking, lighting and heating methods used by people living in informal settlements produce smoke. For this reason Lumkani detectors use rate-of-rise of temperature technology to accurately measure the incidence of dangerous fires and limit the occurrence of false alarms.
Density is a challenge all urban informal settlements share and is a major risk factor that enables the rapid spread of fires. In order to provide sufficient early-warning, a communal alert is required. Our detectors are networked within a 60-metre radius so that in the event of a fire all devices in this range will ring together, enabling a community-wide response to the danger. This buys time for communities to become proactive in rapidly spreading fire risk situations.
We have taken our system even further. We have developed and rolled out smart centralised devices, which gather information about the detector mesh network. These devices constantly check the health of the system and in the event of fire, store GPS coordinates and simultaneously send text-message warnings to members of the affected community. Our next phase is to send, in real-time, the coordinates of fires to the municipality’s emergency response personnel.
Since November 2014, Lumkani has distributed detectors to 5 communities of 1700 households in total. We are already detecting fires and creating the value we envisioned, all the while collecting insightful data around the technology, the fire challenge and the human experience.