The best ideas aren't always the most expensive ones. What if you could save many lives and the homes of people who don't have much for a single dollar? This is what design agency DM9 JaymeSyfu has done at the request of the city of Las Piñas, a poor area close to the the Philippines' capital Manila. Because of the high population density, difficulty for firefighters to reach their destination quickly, and shoddy construction quality in the slums, many house fires turn tragic and many lives and houses are lost that could have been saved if only people had access to fire extinguishers.
But in the Philippines, a fire extinguisher can cost $45, too much for most poor families.
The idea is simple: A plastic pouch full of vinegar also contains a sealed capsule of baking soda. In the event of a fire, you can simply breaks the capsule, creating a mix that all school-kids are familiar with. The resulting carbon dioxide, which is released by tearing a corner of the pouch, is enough to put out small fires. This might not seem like much, but when you consider that more than 1,000 homes burned down a few months ago because of a single candle, it gets really interesting.
Here's a short video that shows how it works:
So far, 4,000 pouches have been distributed across two of Las Piñas' major slums, but officials from other Filipino cities have already placed orders. It's easy to imagine that the same pocket fire extinguishers could be useful all around the world (India comes to mind first).
But fire isn't just a problem for the poor, obviously. So far, most orders for the pocket fire extinguisher have come from Belgium...