The combination of tinder-dry trees and decorative lights is all too often a cocktail for fiery disaster each holiday season, especially in areas where home fire extinguishers and the know-how to operate them are not as common.
Mexican agency Figallo and client Fire Service Plus Mexico are aiming to get out ahead of that danger this year with a new self-activating extinguisher system fitted into inconspicuous tree ornaments and topper stars. Set for release later this year, the “Christmas Hero” devices are each rigged to spray a small cylinder of extinguisher foam called FireAde when a built-in sensor detects fire.
The product-driven campaign is set to kick off a new line of automated firefighting products from Fire Service Plus, which also makes the chemicals that fill fire extinguishers, according to the company’s Latin America division CEO Luis González.
“This is the beginning for a development program of new products to avoid human intervention in fires,” González said in a statement about the product, translated from Spanish.
There’s a clear reason why this innovation has emerged in Mexico, where Christmas tree fires pose far greater danger than in the U.S.
The Mexican Association of Automatic Fire Sprinklers reports that Christmas tree sires account for around 40% of the country’s 11,000 to 12,000 house fires each year.
By comparison, the U.S. National Fire Protection Association estimates that firefighters respond to around 170 home fires caused by Christmas trees in the United States each year.
The concept of a self-extinguishing Christmas tree has been attempted many times before, according to a 2014 article in The Atlantic, though the patent applications usually involved some sort of apparatus housed in the actual tree or an alarm system. Figallo says its Christmas Hero design is still patent-pending.