The minute one sees a headline “Shack Fires”, your thoughts go out to the poor suffering people who are suffering because of the fire devastation and their living conditions. The poorest of the poor who have once again lost everything, and in the aftermath a hand full of good Samaritans hand out a few things to the fire victims and then all is forgotten until the next time.
Well this time it was different, this time the words Shack Fires was a source of great excitement for us here at Soteria Fire SA. The University of Stellenbosch’s program under the leadership of Dr Richard Walls, together with Dr Russ from the University of Edinburg and a small visiting team of students and fire experts from Oklahoma State University, are conducting studies on how best to contain/prevent shack fires, to help the communities who, live in these informal settlements and we, Soteria Fire SA were invited to come along.
What an amazing site to behold 12 standard size shacks filled with 5 tons of wood as accelerant and miles and miles of data cables, heat sensors, video cameras, static cameras and a multitude of other technical monitors and gadgets to capture every possible moment of this test and record everything so that lessons learnt will benefit the regular shack families living in informal settlements. How fortunate we, Soteria Fire SA felt that we could be part of this and what vast amounts of valuable information have we gained from being in attendance.
Both Dr Walls & Dr Russ and their teams plus the local Breede River Fire and rescue services where always happy to explain what the following action/reaction of the fire would be is in the light of changing wind direction, weather changes, different accelerants, flash over, different smoke colours, distances between shacks etc. etc.
This test on the 12 shacks that were burned but setting only one shack alight in a controlled, yet reality-based environment has given Dr. Walls & Dr Russ and their team an immense base and benchmark on which to build, test and recommend firefighting products that are specifically designed for initial fires such as the incredible Soteria Throwable and Soteria Kitchen products. Products that are so simple to use that anyone, the elderly, handicapped and small children can use it. Products that do not add to the devastation of our planet but are total biodegradable and non-Toxic.
Keep up the good work gentlemen we are looking forward to working hand in glove with you and your teams to help the communities.