FireFight is a full response fire alert and prevention system that integrates sensors and smart textiles into everyday household items. The FireFight system leverages existing fire response mechanisms and procedures to help people prevent small house fires from spreading.
Our initial focus was on firefighting equipment and how this could be improved but after speaking to a volunteer firefighter about his experience of dealing with domestic fires, we identified an opportunity around prevention and education of civilians.
Our research looked broadly at existing products and services like household items that could serve a dual purpose fire safety products, masks, fire extinguishers and both wearable and smart sensors. Our solution aims to educate people about how to prevent domestic fires, help them to extinguish small fires if they should occur and also notify other residents in the building if a domestic fire gets out of hand through an app.
We focused on household items that could double as fire safety devices and decided to develop a dual purpose apron that could be used to extinguish a blaze immediately in the case of a kitchen fire. The apron is made using an innovative domestic textile system that would work as either an everyday domestic object or a fire blanket.
The kitchen apron consists of two separate components, connected using magnets. The top half of the apron remains on the user’s body, across the chest, and provides a shield. The lower half of the garment is detachable in case of an emergency, it can be removed quickly and thrown onto the fire to prevent it from spreading.
The apron has two textile layers, the outer completely fireproof and the inner printed with sensory pigment or woven with smart yarns. If the fire is successfully extinguished, no further action is triggered by the FireFight system. If the fire continues to burn, the smart textile triggers a warning that is communicated to the central FireFight system.
Two different sensors were designed. The first sensor has a small clip that makes attaching it to objects easier. The second sensor uses magnets for attaching to objects. Aluminium and plastic are the most suitable materials to use for the sensors and both of these connect directly to the FireFight app.
FireFight is future thinking both in terms of preparing for an absolute future where urbanisation is growing and in terms of a relative future of the user, because every fire safety item is to protect the ‘future’ self of the user.
FireFight was the result of a cross-disciplinary Grand Challenge project run by the school of design at the Royal College of Art in 2018. The FireFight team were Judith Buhmann, Fernanda Dobal, Eva Petrikova, Ciaran Moore, Arabella Miller, Yimeng Yu and April Yang (RCA MA yr 1 students).