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South African social enterprise Lumkani is helping the spreading of fires in informal settlements through special fire detectors which are able to distinguish between ‘safe’ fire – the one that is used to cook or to heath houses – and dangerous fire, thus limiting the occurrence of false alarm.

Density is the factor that mostly contributes to the spread of fire in informal settlements. The system developed by Lumkani allows all the alarms in a specific area to start ringing together when a dangerous fire spreads, enabling a community-wide response to the threat.

The company won the 2015 ‘The Venture’ award, initiated by the whiskey producer Chivas Regal. The prize has allowed Lumkani to improve their product. The product they are currently offering is easier to manufacture and better equipped to detect fire, but they have also managed to better brand the product and promote it widely.

This support is enabling the company to start considering expanding their range of action, and start thinking about developing a device able to alert communities of other risks, such as tsunami, storms and floods.

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