Hephaesnus: Solutions for preventing and fighting forest fires

Every year Portugal faces a natural and man-made disaster: forest fires. In recent years, these fires have already caused hundreds of deaths, injured thousands, and resulted in hundreds of millions of euros in economic losses. The lack of innovation in the sector led two young people (Amaro Martins and Henrique Bastos) to create a project that is quickly becoming a leading solution for preventing and fighting forest fires.

Hephaesnus currently offers solutions focusing on two market lines: products for forest fire prevention and products for forest fire suppression. In the first line, we focus on a preventive solution comprising different ornamental objects commonly found in rural environments (vases, stakes, and other objects), that have a fire detection mechanism and a fire-extinguishing charge inside. Once a fire is detected in the immediate vicinity, an extinguishing charge is released to extinguish the fire and protect the property within a sizeable radius.

In the second market line, our focus has been on creating a device that can be easily attached to current forest fire fighting vehicles and capable of launching flame-extinguishing projectiles. These projectiles are made from biodegradable materials and industrial by-products and contain a fire-extinguishing charge inside that is released on contact with flames.  After speaking with several fire brigades, we found that one of the biggest challenges faced is safe access by firefighters to fire suppression zones, which makes it difficult to extinguish flames quickly and can put the safety of crews at risk. Our solution makes fire fighting faster, safer and more effective. Of course, this solution should be seen as an integrated solution for emergency situations, and not for frequent or stand-alone use. It does not replace the need to use aerial or other existing fire fighting resources. Our solution can be used for the following emergency situations: protecting property (buildings), preventing rekindles, first response (when inaccessible), nighttime firefighting in inaccessible places, and unpredictable situations (such as firefighters surrounded by fire).

These two solutions will help to reduce the economic and environmental damage and human suffering that forest fires cause every year in Portugal, and help those who need it most!

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