Though it may seem like something out of a video game, the firevase is very real. Designed by Samsung subsidiary Cheil Worldwide, it was made with the challenge of getting more homes in South Korea to have readily available fire safety equipment. The Seoul-based Chaebol (South Korean conglomerate) is currently distributing 200,000 of the vases to members of its insurance program.
Living spaces in South Korea, including the communal and low-budget spaces known as goshiwons, often present fire hazards. When a goshiwon caught fire last year in Seoul, the dorm-like facility didn’t even sprinklers because current safety standards are not applied retroactively to older structures. Seven people died. Similarly, no sprinkler system was in place in a small hospital in southern South Korea where 37 died.
“I am too ashamed to say again that this kind of thing will never happen again,” Prime Minister Lee Nak-yon said at the time. In South Korea, the role of prime minister is equivalent to that of vice president.
In South Korea, Samsung’s reach extends much further than in the U.S., and the company even covers insurance through Samsung Fire & Marine Insurance. As an insurance company, Samsung conducted a poll of the country which found that 58 percent of households did not have a fire extinguisher as of 2017, despite a recent law requiring them.
The Firevase, in its original form.
Facing structural challenges, the Firevase is a social-media ready alternative for fire safety. While appearing to be a normal, attractive, vase, it can be broken to release the release a secret stash of potassium carbonate inside. An oxygen suppressant, potassium carbonate is internationally seen as a dry fire retardant. A version known as Purple K is the only dry chemical agent recognized by the National Fire Protection Association.
Once released, the Samsung-Cheil version of the potassium carbonate, which is colorless, quickly works to suppress nearby fire. An ad last year demonstrating its abilities with the help of Korean celebrities went viral, currently over 8 million views.
The vases first went into production around that time, with Cheil building them and Samsung Insurance distributing 10,000 vases. “The idea behind Firevase is simple: raise awareness to the very important public safety issue of home fire safety while drawing a direct line between that effort and Samsung Fire & Marine’s fundamental brand philosophy of always nearby and always good,” said Oh Hyung-kyun, a creative director with Cheil Worldwide, at the time.
Now, the company is looking to expand its program. “With the strategy to equip Koreans that were indifferent to fire safety with fire extinguishers, we created one that was unique so it would increase their desire to have one,” Samsung says in a press release, per Deezen.
The idea is not wholly original. The Elide Fire Ball, for example, was using the same principal in 2016. But the more people practicing fire safety, the better.
Source: The Verge