Index︎Interoffice communications︎Spark/slum fires

[NOTE: This is the archived version of this article from 26 July 2033.]

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You may have heard of the fire watchers in the American Midwest. But did you know that we have our own right here in Lagos? However, the local ones are not watching forests and mountains, and in fact, aren’t even human.

Amarachi Akindele has founded a group she calls the Ajeromi-Tin Can Town Health Front, which has developed a system called Spark. By installing sensors on top of tall buildings (and in some cases installing poles to mount them on!), Akindele has developed a network to identify, categorize, report, and warn residents of existing fires. Using what she herself terms a “rudimentary computer brain” to pick fires out from other environmental and atmospheric conditions, she can track fires according to time of day, type of fire, and many other factors, as well as provide residents with maps and save havens away from the fire. And afterwards, the Spark app provides affected residents with tools to appeal to Lagos State officials for aid automatically.
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“The Ajeromi Islands suffers from nearly 50,000 slum fires a year by some estimates,” Akindele says in a promotional video. “What we at Spark intend to do is to raise awareness, and limit the damage these fires cause.”

In the absence of Lagos municipal or state services to curb the outbreak of fires, Akindele says that they must “be stopped at the source”. She continues “Spark represents the best efforts to use the one resource the underserved Ajeromi Islands neighborhood has—digital access—to stand in for the ones it doesn’t”.

The Spark app will be available on Wednesday on most platforms, as well as on Kanect kiosks.