Lumkani Early-Warning System Rolled Out In Imizamo Yethu

Thandeka, resident of Imizamo Yethu’s Zola section, reads about her new Lumkani device.

The reality of shack fires is a year-round concern but as we enter another summer season the Hout Bay Partnership was thrilled to have the opportunity to be a conduit partner in enabling a roll out of 700 Lumkani fire detection devices in Imizamo Yethu sponsored by Old Mutual  and 5 For Change. Lumkani has developed an early-warning system to reduce the damage and destruction caused by the spread of shack fires in urban informal settlements. These devices sense quick increases in heat and when one device is triggered it creates a chain reaction across the neighbouring devices within a 60-metre radius allowing the community to have a quicker reaction time to combat the fire, alert emergency services and ensure residents’ safety. Additionally there will be five 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. Watch an informative video here.

Since November 2014, Lumkani has distributed detectors to over 7000 households across South Africa. They are already detecting fires and creating the value envisioned, all the while collecting insightful data around the technology, the fire challenge and the human experience. Their next phase is to send, in real-time, the coordinates of fires to the municipality’s emergency response personnel.
Locally Thula Thula Hout Bay have been on the ground consolidating, coordinating and proactively being prepared to assist victims of disasters for the past year, greatly assisting the victims of more than six fires in Hout Bay communities. They have been able to offer accountable relief facilitating fair and even distribution of donations and supplies ensuring that those affected receive timeous, relevant relief in their time of need. The Hout Bay Partnership connected their team to liaise with Lumkani regarding the areas within Imizamo Yethu most affected by fires and decided to focus the roll out of devices across the Zola section. Having extensively worked with these residents during post fire relief efforts, Thula Thula arranged a community engagement meeting to allow Lumkani’s community liaison and implementer, Clive Nqiwa, to inform and demonstrate how the devices work.

Installations have begun door to door throughout the area. Each device is installed near the cooking area of the household and then registered with geo-location and the resident’s contact details. This enables Lumkani’s head office to have a visual of the area networked with devices and if an alarm is signaled they can see the area that the fire was initiated. Additionally residents of triggered alarms will receive an SMS to notify them, in the case that they are not at home they will know the alarm has been activated and can engage in the community response.

If you are interested in supporting a future installation roll out of more devices in our community Thula Thula Hout Bay will ring-fence any donations made to them with the reference “Lumkani”. Be in contact and find further information about how to support Thula Thula’s work here.

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