South African startup, Lumkani, announced on Wednesday, 14 August 2019, that it has installed early warning fire detection systems in 20,000 homes across South Africa. To date, Lumkani has equipped 40,000 high fire risk homes in several of the country’s informal settlements with this early warning technology system.
The project was funded by the GSMA Mobile for Development Programme, via the Mobile for Humanitarian Innovation Fund, aims to create resilience in the most vulnerable communities of South Africa.
Within the first six months of operation, the system has already reduced the spread of fire in 16 incidents. Lumkani’s system creates a community-wide alert in the early phases of a fire. The fire alarm in every home within 60m of the fire rings, and text messages are sent to all residents, so even those at work or elsewhere can respond.
“Lumkani has always had the dream of making communities more resilient to the devastation of shack fires. Having the opportunity to cover an additional 20,000 South African homes with our early warning system has been a big step towards realising this,” says Francois Petousis, Director of Humanitarian Projects at Lumkani.
“Every week we hear stories of people who have heard our fire alarms ringing in a neighbourhood, or have received our SMS saying that their house is on fire which has helped them to race home to put out a small fire before it caused any damage. That is a huge motivation for us to reach even more homes across our country.”
“Through our early warning systems in many of South Africa’s highest fire-risk areas, we have seen first-hand the impact that this simple intervention has had in preventing devastation amongst the most vulnerable communities in our country,” concludes Petousis.
Edited by Jenna Cook
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