Humanitarian and Disaster Relief

Sleeping Mats

Natural disasters like earthquakes, tsunamis and typhoons are all too commonplace leaving a trail of devastation that can last many years. Primary aid requirements when disaster strikes are always for shelter, food, water and clothing.

One of the major issues in disaster situations and one that is unseen and much overlooked is the effect of falling temperatures at night resulting in hypothermia when sleeping in contact with the ground on traditional hessian based sleeping mats.


The issues

  • Hypothermia, the mat does not provide insulation or warmth
  • Absorbency, the mat is not resistant to moisture ingress from the ground or rain water
  • Hygiene, once sodden, the mat can become contaminated with bacteria and is unhygienic
  • Durability, the mat is not overly durable and can easily become torn or rot.
  • Comfort, while not a high priority, the mat provides little comfort

We approached these specific issues understanding there has to be a better solution. We visited Aidex in 2012 and held discussions with the major aid agencies to find out what they wanted as a solution. 

The remit 

Our task was to design and produce a simple product to combat these issues, with the primary focus being insulation from cold ground. The product had to be non-absorbent and hygienic. It had to be lightweight and robust, with a long shelf life allowing it to be stock piled for disaster preparedness. The lesser consideration was to supply a product that would provide comfort in what can only be described as stressful situations. It had to be economically produced, keeping logistical costs to a minimum.

The solution

·         A slim light weight robust inflatable mattress

·         Effective, it is instantly warmed by body heat, providing an insulating barrier against cold

·         It is water and weatherproof

·         It is hygienic and resistant to contamination

·         It is extremely ductile and provides comfort over uneven ground

·         It is easily inflated with the minimum of effort

·         It is cost effective.

 

We exhibited at Aidex 2013 to introduce the finished product to market. The response was phenomenal with great interest from all the major aid agencies including amongst others the IFRC and UNHCR.

The immediate response from Aidex has been requests to supply in excess of 1.3 million units

The Mattress has been designed with first aid in mind. The life span of the mattress once inflated could be up to one year life and it should be considered a long term solution, when the effects of disaster and crisis are long felt.

 

Research and Development of the Mattress

Our R&D facility explored a number of options in relation to materials, size and inflation methods in order to best meet the requirement.  The most beneficial option is a single size mattress with overall inflated dimensions of 180cm (L) x 60cm (W) x 5cm (D).  The finished product is a multi-chambered, multi pocketed design with inflation ports along one side of the mattress.

 

The mattress is one length of material with a 1cm divide between each chamber. Each chamber is made up of 18 interlinked pockets, (3 x 6) of 10cm square. The inflation ports are equally spaced along the length of the mattress, which provides easy inflation to each of the six chambers  

 

The material should be robust enough be resistant to puncture, but not too thick that it will not absorb body heat quickly to insulate against the cold. The result was to manufacture a Mattress constructed of three layers.  A thick bottom layer, with a thinner top layer, which is coated in a soft cotton like fabric for additional warmth and comfort. Ground conditions in disaster situations can be strewn with debris. While no air mattress is 100% puncture proof, the CNE Mattress is very ductile forming to the ground beneath.

 

As with all CNE products, the chambers are inflated orally, no pumps are required. With the multi chamber design inflation takes a minimum effort and the mattress is ready for use in less than one minute. The valve mechanism is a one way self-sealing patented technology and there are no fiddly plugs or adapters, simply blow and use.  

 

With a multi chamber design in the event of a chamber being punctured, functionality of the mattress is maintained. As with all inflatable mattresses, there will be an element of seepage. The air pressure can easily be topped up via the one way valve, the life span of the valve once inflated is upward of four months. The multi pocketed design provides an evenly spread bed of air, that is more adaptable to uneven ground, providing superior comfort

 

Hygiene

The CNE mattress is non-absorbent.  In any situation it can be easily washed with water or antibacterial solutions making it immediately ready for re-use, unlike mattresses and blankets which cannot be sanitised and re-used this easily.

 

The Mattress is finished in either high gloss or soft cotton. Either can be printed with a logo.

Final product


There are currently 3 variations of Life-Bed designed to suit a variety of requirements and climatic conditions. Both adult and child sizes are available.


Packaging

Average weight per unit                                            270gm.  

Carton contains : 80 units                                         20 kg. approx

Pallet : 14 cartons / 1,120 units                                

Container (40 ft.) : 26,400 units in cartons (no pallets) 


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