Vietnam students create fire alarm system with SMS alert

A group of Ho Chi Minh City students has successfully created an integrated fire alarm system that can deliver alerts via SMS

Firefighters approach a burning house in Ho Chi Minh City, southern Vietnam, in this September 13, 2010 file photo.

The system consists of a surveillance camera connected through Internet to a computer with image-processing software, according to its creators, Nguyen Van Len and Phan Thanh Phat, who study electrical and engineering at the HCMC University of Technology.

The computer is connected to a microprocessor which can automatically control the messaging module, as well as send warning signals to the speakers installed at the scene of the fire.

Once a fire breaks out, the computer will simultaneously send alarm signals through Internet to local fire protection centers, send SMS to alert its user, and activate the on-scene fire alarm.

The data delivered to local fire protection centers include the ID of the camera, location and photos of the fire, and the shortest route to get to the scene as suggested by Google Maps.

The camera ID includes the address and name of the camera’s user which has already been registered at the fire protection centers.

Associate Professor Hoang Dinh Chien from the HCMC University of Technology’s Department of Electrical and Engineering, said the equipment has a 100 percent accuracy rate when experimented at night and a little lower during daytime.

Chien had proposed the idea and instructed Len and Phat to create the fire alarm system.

The students behind the system said their product can solve problems that current fire alarm systems are facing.

Specifically, common fire alert systems are usually based on temperature sensors, smoke sensors and fire detectors, which can only detect fires occurring near where they are installed with a low rate of accuracy, the students said.

They are also unable to take photos of the scene, which will make investigation on the fire’s cause difficult.

Firefighting teams usually only receive fire alerts through phone calls from people at the scene and it will take time for firefighters to verify the fire, which slowdowns the extinguishing process, the students said.

Seeing the disadvantages, the researching team came up with the idea of delivering images capturing the fire scene to fire protection centers so that firefighters can have solutions immediately and timely, they added.

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