The device reduces the residential insecurity that plagues informal settlements EVERY few months or so I look out of my office window across the valley and see voluminous plumes of dark smoke billowing above the settlement of Imizamo Yethu in Hout Bay. Sometimes at night, I wake up to the blasts of exploding gas bottles, followed by urgent screams from the shacks on the hillside.Usually, because the fire station is adjacent to the settlement, by the time I look out there are already fire trucks on the scene, red lights flashing. Or I hear their sirens wailing as they make their way to the fire. I watch for a bit and feel sad. Then I go back to work or sleep. Yes, I know; those affected by shack fires go back to little. Or nothing. Or, where people are burned, worse than nothing.The people of Imizamo Yethu are among thousands around SA who bear the risk of shack fires every year. It was this that motivated Francois Petousis, then an honours engineering student at the University of Ca...

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