Shocked by the 2000 Childers hostel fire in Queensland, Australia - in which 15 backpackers died after staff had dismantled a fire-detection system - veteran travellers Dave Potter and Robert Carmichael realised the need for a personal safety device to protect independent travellers. Their solution is FlareSafe, a lightweight (230 grams), compact (15cm x 4.5cm) combination smoke detector, SOS/distress alarm and flashlight.
Shockproof and made of military-grade plastics, the FlareSafe is ideal for travellers in areas where safety is an issue, or for camping and sailing. The device is already being used by disaster-relief agencies and the British Red Cross for emergency work.
The water-resistant, portable smoke detector comes with two AA batteries and one long-lasting lithium battery to operate the emergency functions even when the other batteries are dead (integrated software provides a timely alert to the need to renew batteries).
If smoke is detected by its infrared optics, a 110-decibel alarm siren (which can be heard up to 500 metres away and which lasts for more than 60 hours) sounds and the flashlight activates. The flashlight has three settings for different conditions. Half-beam is ideal for reading while the full setting creates a focused 20-metre beam visible for up to 2km. The SOS strobe function lasts for up to 100 hours.
FlareSafe costs GBP42.51 (HK$650) from www.flarebrands.com. Delivery to Hong Kong for one unit costs GBP24.30.