Safety devices don’t usually focus on the form because their purpose is to serve emergencies and therefore function reigns over everything. But the winner from the 2020 Korea Design Exhibition was an example of how safety devices can be extremely functional while showing good design details so they aren’t an eyesore in the space. Think of them as superheroes and they need a good suit – now they have one!
Emergency Helper was designed to help people in the event of a fire in a building, but what makes it different is that it is a lot more than just a fire extinguisher and is aimed at helping with the side effects of the emergency as well. In case of fire, it informs the location of the fire extinguisher as well as the location of the evacuation route. When a fire breaks out, LED lights will come on from both sides and the bottom of the product, an alarm will ring the warning sound and the LED on the top- front will notify people where to evacuate from. In case the fire breaks out around the product or the product cannot be used for some reason, the smart device will spray extinguishing fluid from the front and both sides after detecting the heat around it. It also includes a hammer, flashlight, and respirators – this can help people evacuate safely and reduce respiratory stress for those with breathing problems in case of such emergencies.
The smart design of the Emergency Helper adds necessary layers to the traditional fire extinguisher for a more well-rounded safety system. The design reminds me of a modern vending machine that also helps users associate it with a reassuring product than something that reminds them of dreadful situations. Emergency Helper can also expand its safety measures by including life jackets and whistles to be even more prepared in case of unforeseen circumstances but it is certainly a step in the right direction. Something that comes to mind when designing safety devices is how can they be made more inclusive so people with disabilities can also operate them when needed – perhaps a voice assistant?
Designer: Jungwook Lee and Jinho Kim