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.
Our detectors have been specifically designed to use heat detection instead of smoke detection to sense fire. Many cooking, lighting and heating methods used by people living in informal settlements produce smoke. This is the reason Lumkani devices use rate-of rise of temperature technology to accurately measure the incidence of dangerous fires and limit the occurrence of false alarms.
We have also designed functionality to address the dense nature of urban informal settlements. Density is a challenge all urban informal settlements share, which is a risk factor that enables the rapid spread of fires.
We have identified that in order to provide a sufficient early warning; a community-wide alert is required. Our devices respond to this challenge as they are networked, connecting all devices within a 60-metre radius. In the event of a fire, devices within this range will ring together, creating a community-wide response to the danger. This buys time for communities to become proactive in rapidly spreading fire risk situations.
Lumkani will begin rolling out 2 000 units to communities in the City of Cape Town in October 2014.
Francois Petousis is a co-founder of Lumkani. He designed the first piece of low cost technology – the Lumkani smoke detector – as part of his electrical engineering thesis at the University of Cape Town with Samuel Ginsberg as his supervisor.
Samuel Ginsberg, a co-founder of Lumkani and a senior lecturer in the Electrical Engineering department at UCT with a wealth of expertise in product development. He is the head electronics and system developer for Lumkani.
Emily Vining is a social change practitioner. She is focused on building inclusive grass-roots practice and community relationships to create positive social impact.
Paul Mesarcik is an electrical engineer, strategic thinker and innovative problem solver. He wants to contribute to social change through open-source technology and resource sharing.
We have been fortunate to partner with the Community Organisation Resource Centre (CORC). They are the local branch of Shack-dwellers International (SDI), and an expert in social change practice. They have rich experience in effective engagement of marginalised communities and the informal settlement environment of South Africa.
We are supported by the GSB Bertha Centre for Social Innovation & Entrepreneurship.
We are proud finalists of the SeedStars business competition.
Lumkani is a finalist in the Better Living Challenge 2014
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