New recruit to Walter E Dragon's fire safety team
In his show and tell session at the Colleagues Conference, Fire Risk Assessor Andy Slater (with help from an animated firefighter) talked about a bright new idea for improving fire safety. Six months later that idea has been developed into the ‘AlightForLife’ low-level lighting system that helps people leave a smoke-filled room in safety. ‘AlightForLife’ was shortlisted for ‘best new safety product’in November’s international fire safety awards. Peter Green reports.
“in fire engineering, we use the letters E+R=O all the time. Event plus Response equals Outcome. In other words, if you keep doig the same thing, expect the same results. Change your response and you will get a different outcome.
“Example: ‘Darling, Iwant to watch the cup final down the pub.’ The outcome is going to be ‘no’! But by changing your response – ‘Darling it’s the cup final so the shops will be really busy – if we went on Sunday when they’re quieter, we’d have time to look at that dress you want.’ The answer will be ‘yes’.
“Nearly three years ago I investigated a fatal fire. I investigated a fatal fire. This became very upsetting as I do not think the elderly man should have died. The investigation concluded that he bacame lost in his own environment. In other words, he could not see through the smoke to escape.
“He had a working smoke alarm. He had lights on. But because smoke rises it takes out light at high level. So I had to think outside the box. I came up with the idea of a low level light that could be seen in smoky conditions. and, one that comes on instantly when any fire alarm or domestic smoke alarm sounds and flashes at the final exit to guide people to safety.
“I took the idea and business case to three companies. Lite4Life have now British Manufactured this product.”
So the team behind fire safety figurehead Walter E Dragon teamed up again.
In a new cartoon video Aura the ‘AlightForLife’ light explains to firefighter Walter E Dragon why she’s great at helping him save lives. She beats all four members of the ‘Smoke Gang’ – who stand for the main causes of domestic fires (electrical, cooking, smoking and matches, and naked flames such as candles).
The AlightForLife system has many advantages over traditional lighting – including:
- Low level (below 400mm), below the smoke threshold – so escape routes are easy to see
- Arrows can be set to flash for directions or to signal key areas like the last exit
- Comes on automatically when it ‘hears’ a smoke alarm go off
- Lasts for up to 8 hours in a power failure
AlightForLife was shortlisted in the ‘Active Fire Product Innovation of the Year’ category in the International Security & Fire Excellence Awards 2014 alongside new products from market leaders such as Panasonic.
Sometimes the best ideas come from the simplest things – like asking ‘why are fire safety lights always on the ceiling where rising smok blocks them?’ – Andy Slater, Lambeth Living Fire Risk Assessor.