Every year, more and more business owners and entrepreneurs in Silicon Valley, Wall Street, and other parts of the US are giving close attention to fire prevention and control. They do this not just to protect their business, but also the environment. You see, every year, millions of acres are destroyed by fire in the US. The situation keeps getting worse. The average number of wildfires that spring up annually has drastically increased since the early 1980s. As a result, resources for controlling or putting out these fires have been stretched thin. The thousands of available firefighters are not enough to contain the many fires that occur in the US. The National Guard has even been called a couple of times to augment the staffs of the fire department.
This disturbing trend is not going to go away overnight. New firefighting equipment and more brave firefighters are needed. With the situation seemingly getting worse every year, how are we going to turn the tide around and make things better for a change? One way to do this is by applying some of our bigger technological innovations to fire fighting.
In this article, we are going to be looking at some popular fire-fighting startups that are dedicated to making high-tech devices that can help control and alert people to a fire. We are also going to be looking at some conventions where these startups show off their technology. Before we dive into the nitty-gritty of this article, we are first going to be looking at how drones, Big data and IOT (Internet of things) are presently been used to prevent and control fires.
Game of Drones
In the hands of an expert fire personnel, a drone can be used to get a picture of the intensity of a fire, the amount of damage it has caused and give insights on the best way or approach to put it out. In the hands of hobbyists, looking to satisfying their curiosity or getting a bird’s eye view of the fire situation in their locality, on the other hand, drones do more harm than good.
To reduce the odds of an accident occurring, firefighting aircraft are grounded when drones controlled by locals are in the air. If this situation is addressed, low-flying fire fighting aircraft and drones will be able to help analyze a fire situation quicker without any hindrance.
With drones, firefighters will not only be able to get a clear picture of the level of damage caused by wildfire but will also help prevent it from occurring in the first place. You see, a drone can be used to explore a vast expanse of inaccessible land. Drones also create a window for the authorities’ spot conditions ripe for forest fires.
Real-time and accurate information about what’s going on the ground leads to better awareness. This is ultimately going to help the authorities to identify risks and take prompt action. Getting a clear aerial photo of an area without endangering human lives will not only help save precious resources but will also increase the efficacy of preemptive burning.
In years to come, (AI) artificial intelligence is likely going to play a major role in controlling fires on the ground.
With the valuable images and videos captured by drones, fire departments and Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) will be able to step beyond mapping/GIS techniques, which is solely dependent on manual update. Machine learning innovation is powering automatic object recognition that can accurately identify patterns that will take human analyst hours to search.
The technology already exists to examine and analyze vast repositories of imagery and videos and pull out a needle in a haystack or anything out of place. Law enforcement and security agencies are using the same search technology to locate dangerous suspects and stop an imminent threat. These advanced systems can also be programmed to spot conditions and patterns from the videos and images of vegetation that commonly lead to a fire springing up or spreading sporadically.
Internet of things
Deploying sensors to detect rapid changes early, monitor conditions, and predict outcomes can provide more reliable and richer data set than aerial monitoring.
True, the challenges will be enormous given the vast expanse of land to cover and the sheer number of sensors needed, but the idea has been successfully executed in Europe. These impressive networks in place make an excellent starting point for researchers. In fact, some researchers at UCSD have been able to use existing sensors deployed within forests to create real-time analytics systems.
Fire prevention and control startups
Over the years, a lot of startups have sprung up in the US, UK, South-Korea and other parts of the world and have developed high tech devices that help alert people to fire quickly and control fires. Below are a few of them.
Nare IoT lab
Nare IoT Lab is a popular South-Korean startup that has developed a sophisticated arc fault fire prevention system based on Internet of things (IoT) technology. Farmers are presently using this system to protect their livestock.
Contrary to popular beliefs, IoT isn’t just about high tech or flashy gadgets; it is also about innovative technology that offers cost-effective solutions and systems that can protect human lives and properties.
The fire prevention system that was put together by Nare IoT Lab is one of many inventions that can help to prevent and mitigate the damage caused by fire.
A close look at the arc fire prevention system
The arc fire prevention system can accurately distinguish between a normal harmless arc and a dangerous arc that can cause devastating fires. Before we dive deeper into the working principle of this high tech device, we are first going to be looking at what an arc fault is all about.
What is an arc fault?
An arc fault is basically a high-power discharge of electricity between conductors that are supposed to be isolated from each other. Two or more conductors that aren’t supposed to come together may meet when connections are loose or when there is serious damage to the wires.
The continuous discharge between the conductors can translate into heat, which can melt the wire’s insulation and start an electrical fire. According to the NFDS (National Fire Data Systems), 22 percent of the fires that occurred in 2014 were caused by electricity. 76 percent of these electricity-related fires were caused by arc faults.
Nare’s impressive ArcLow module can effectively detect the formation of arcs. The system is designed to trigger an alarm and send a warning to the owner’s Smartphone if it deems that the arc has enough heat to start a fire. The owners of the property were the system is installed can then choose to turn off the power grid in the suspected area or use other safety measures to address the issue.
About the CEO of Nare IoT lab
The CEO of Nare, Seoung Wook is a reputable figure in the tech space. He was able to make a name for himself because of his commitment to excellence and sheer determination to make the best products. Since 2007, Seoung Wook has been actively working on security. Before the dramatic rise of smartphones, he installed security cameras in private homes, factories, automobiles and built systems where status update and pictures were sent in the form of a text.
The rise of IoT was an opportunity for tech vendors to make sophisticated systems on a small budget. SK Telecom, the biggest wireless operator firm in South-Korea has clinched a deal with a Japanese firm to supply ArcLow. In the future, this solution is likely going to be exported to Asia and Europe.
EyeTemp is a notable fire prevention startup that has made a name for itself over the last couple of years. Their IoT (Internet of things) connected smart sensors are specifically designed to prevent kitchen fires. The sensor is programmed to sound an alarm in the event of a fire or a sudden rise in temperature. This high tech sensor was manufactured through Forward industries and designed by mad IPS scientist.
How it works
EyeTemp is designed to monitor time setting and temperature on commercial and residential appliances and send a distress message or alert to mobile devices when something is wrong, thereby protecting businesses and residential properties from potential fires.
According to Daniel Michel, CEO, and founder of EyeTemp, unattended cooking equipment is the main cause of residential fires, but with this internet of things enabled sensors, everything from ovens to candles triggers can be monitored.
Whisker labs is another popular startup that has made major contributions to fire safety. Its newest fire prevention device Ting can effectively monitor the electrical system of a building and alert owners of potential fire hazards like sparks and arcs that could develop over time in the electrical cords. Ting can also monitor changes in power voltage that can damage electrical appliances. Unlike other devices similar to it that requires an electrician to install, the new Whisker Labs offering Ting is very easy to install.
Next, we are going to be looking at some fire events and conferences where five startups discuss fire safety and prevention and showcase their high tech inventions.
FIreTech Conference and Expo
The Fire Tech Conference and Expo are designed specifically for design technician, building code official, fire protection engineer, Fire Marshal, and inspectors. The purpose of this conference is to create a window for participants to engage experts with regard to trending topics, network with manufacturers and product distributors, to develop a relationship with peers, showcase new inventions and findings, all while receiving continuing education. The conference will take place on the Oklahoma State University campus.
International Conference on Fire Safety Science and Technology
The ICFSST 2019 is an international conference on fire safety technology is designed to bring together scientists and research scholars to share experiences, ideas and researches on the various aspects of fire prevention technology and fire safety science. The conference also creates a window for startups CEOs, practitioners and researchers to air their concerns and discuss recent innovations
A lot of firms and companies have given more and more attention to fire safety and prevention because of the devastating damage fires can do to properties and the environment. Every year, numerous fire startups spring up here and there with impressive technological devices that will help prevent fires and notify people of a fire. These men and women behind these startups meet a couple of times a year to share their ideas and showcase their inventions and findings.
Hey before you go, check out this Firefighter robot! It’s so cool.