Network of smart fire detectors protects poor neighborhoods

2 min read · 7 years ago



The 1.9 million homes in South Africa’s slums are mostly constructed from highly flammable materials and built extremely close to one and other, meaning that the outbreak of a fire can put a whole community in danger. Since many inhabitants use open flames for cooking, this is a very real threat. Now, startup Lumkani has created a smart Fire Detector, which monitors temperature rather than smoke levels, and warns whole neighborhoods if their homes are in danger.

The Lumkani Fire Detector must first be installed in every home, as high as possible against an interior wall and far away from the home’s cooking area. Then, if a fire breaks out, the detector in that location is triggered by the fast rise in temperature, and sounds an alarm for 20 seconds. If, in that time, the user is not able to contain the fire and turn off the alarm, warnings are sent via radio frequencies, to every alarm within a 200 foot radius. Lumkani has also developed a smart centralized device, which can monitor an entire system of detectors and send warnings via text message to affected users in an emergency. It also plans to use this device to communicate exact fire coordinates to emergency response services.


Lumkani’s Fire Detectors are already in use in five communities, totaling 1,700 households. The startup recently completed a very successful crowdfunding campaign on Indiegogo, which raised nearly USD 100,000 for the next stage of development and implementation.


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