The Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST), has developed two fire detection devices in a bid to enhance the nation’s pursuit to bringing down the incidence of fire outbreaks.
They include ‘PySpy’, open-space intelligent fire detection and alert system, the world’s first of such technology to be invented, and ‘Laser Smoke Detector’, an indoor fire detector device.
Professor Mark Adom-Asamoah, Provost of the College of Engineering, briefing the Ghana News Agency (GNA), said the ‘PySpy’ was designed and built by InGineX Solutions, a student group of Derrick Brown Nabeel Amadu, Daniel and Peter Archer, all from the Electrical and Mechanical Engineering Department.
This was during the College’s Engineering Design competition dubbed “GESA Makers Faire”, a programme dedicated to harnessing and showcasing the engineering acumen of students at the College.
Prof. Adom-Asamoah indicated that the ‘PySpy’ comes with a computer vision-based system that utilises two cameras and other senses to accurately detect fire outbreaks, thereby alerting fire preventive authorities.
The laser smoke detector, also the first laser-based technology of its kind, was developed by one Charles Ofori, a mechanical Engineering student, to help increase responsive time of detection of smoke during indoor fire outbreaks.
Using imaging techniques this device forms a complete responsive mesh network across ceilings and top floors of rooms, making it easier and effective to detect early smokes before they cause much damage.
The Provost said a demonstration of how this laser smoke detector worked had been conducted at the College and challenged policy makers to strive to encourage the adoption of the technologies in the interest of the nation.
The two devices come at a time that the nation is grappling with finding a lasting solution to the perennial incidence of fire outbreaks which come with their own attendant negative consequences on the nation’s socio-economic development.
The Kumasi Central Market, one of the fire-prone spots in the country, had since 1993 to date recorded 49 fire outbreaks, causing damage to property whose cost runs into several millions of Ghana Cedis.
The Ashanti Region had also for the first quarter of this year recorded 343 outbreaks as against 743 in 2016, representing a percentage reduction of 53.83 per cent.
Generally, it is estimated that the incidence of fire outbreaks increases every year with statistics from the Ghana National Fire Service (GNFS) indicating that domestic fires that occurred from 2012-2015 represented 41.02 per cent of the total fire outbreaks recorded nationwide.
In all, more than 20, 500 fires were recorded within this period with an estimated cost of GHC97million.
The GNFS data shows that domestic and bush fires accounted for about two-thirds of all fire outbreaks in this period.