[창업창직] Turning old fire suits into new wings, rekindling the spark of life

Facebook
Twitter
LinkedIn
Pinterest
Pocket
WhatsApp
For firefighters fighting against the burning flames at the scene of a fire, fire protection suits are ‘memory’. This is because the process to save a certain life is completely dissolved. 119REO is a social enterprise that sells products made from recycled fire-fighting suits and donates a portion of the proceeds to cancer-fighting firefighters. Just as firefighters keep us close, we are sending the message to save the lives of firefighters. I heard the stories of those who listen to the voices of firefighters.

Barim, 119REO

each other save each other

Q. I am curious about the starting point of 119REO. Is there any particular reason you paid special attention to the problem of firefighters with cancer or rare diseases?
A. I met a firefighter who was battling cancer in person. As I listened to the story from the other side, I felt a sense of problem. Due to the nature of their jobs, where they are easily exposed to harmful substances in the field, firefighters are said to have a higher incidence of cancer than the general public. In addition, there are firefighters who are living a difficult life by paying the cost of surgery on their own because no official injuries are recognized even after being diagnosed with cancer or a rare disease. I decided to start a business with the idea of ​​spreading these issues to society. The first thing that came to mind was the ‘fire protection suit’ that protects the safety of firefighters at the scene of a fire. The first thought was to make a product using this.

Q. I would also like to know how you put the idea of ​​making a new product out of discarded fire suits into action. First of all, it must have been daunting to start looking for fire protection suits.
A. That’s right. It was all my first time, and I went through a lot of trial and error. I didn’t know where to get the fire suits, so I went to the fire station and tried to persuade them. At first, he looked at us with puzzled eyes, and then he empathized with the story of ‘they save each other’. It was our philosophy that we wanted to keep to the extent that we created the company name 119REO after the initials of ‘Rescue Each Other’. Fortunately, several firefighters said, ‘I am very grateful to be able to help my colleagues,’ so I was able to gain more and more courage.

Read Also  blow this up for my baby #ButterGlossPop #tiktokreviews #boredathome #MySkinand...

Q. Please tell me the process of turning the used fire protection into a stylish bag in sequence.
A. The first thing to do is to collect fire suits from fire departments across the country, and then I pay a lot of attention to washing clothes. If washing is not done carefully, contaminants may harm workers. Next, it goes through the process of disassembling the cleaned fire-fighting clothing. The pockets, zippers and other accessories attached to the fire-proof clothing are disassembled one by one and unfolded in the form of fabric. For your reference, collection, laundry and disassembly work in cooperation with local self-help centers to provide jobs to the underprivileged working class here. Finally, the 119REO bag is completed by cutting and sewing the fabric according to the design pattern in a specialized factory.

Barim, 119REO

Barim, 119REO

Q. A lot of people go through the hands of a product before it is made. What is the most important thing to you in your work?
A. This is the attitude towards fire protection clothing. There are traces of firefighters saving thousands of people from the collected fire suits. The fire protection suits worn by firefighters are made of durable materials and do not tear easily no matter how rough it is torn by hand. However, when I see the tattered fire-proof clothes that have been charred and charred by the fire, I automatically have a pious mind, thinking, ‘How dangerous would it have been if I had been in such a dangerous place?’ So, the process of disassembling fire suits is 100% done by hand. We try to minimize waste by handling fire suits with human hands. If you cut out a lot of parts with a machine, you lose the meaning of the precious fire-resistance clothing that saved lives. We make one-of-a-kind bags from each precious fire-fighting suit.

Q. The sensuous and concise product design is impressive. The straight ‘fluorescent band’ seemed to represent the upright spirit of a firefighter. Are there any other things that have such a special meaning?
A. Among the 119REO bags, there are many names with numbers. A representative example is a sling bag called ‘REO714’. A sling bag is a bag that can be carried forward by tightening a short string. But when I saw the masks for rescuers that firefighters usually wear on their chests, they looked like they were wearing a sling bag. I thought it would be good to design with this as a motif. The number ‘714’ is also related to the number of breaths that firefighters exhale per minute. In addition, ‘REO893’ means 893,000 people saved by firefighters in 2019, and ‘REO926’ means the number of people in charge of one firefighter as of 2019.

Barim, 119REO

Barim, 119REO

Q. I know that you donate the proceeds every year to firefighters who are still having a hard time. Are there any particularly memorable moments?
A. So far, we have donated a total of 80 million won to 13 cancer-fighting firefighters. The most memorable person is the first firefighter we met, the late Firefighter Kim Beom-seok. In fact, it can be said that this work was started to convey this story to the world. At that time, there were 121 firefighters fighting cancer across the country, but only one case was recognized as an official injury. In such a difficult situation, I remember being happy and relieved together when firefighter Kim Beom-seok won the second lawsuit and was finally recognized for his official injury in 2019. I felt it was worthwhile to tell the stories of the firefighters so far, and I was even more proud because it was the result of working with the many customers who trusted and purchased 119REO.

Read Also  Park Ji-hyeon, who came to Daegu, criticized for the sniping of ‘bone soup’

Q. I want to know the final goal of 119REO and the way forward in your opinion.
A. I recently looked back on how many fire suits we have collected. It is said that upcycling 17 tons of used fire protection clothing had the effect of suppressing the generation of about 40 tons of carbon dioxide. It was an honor to save each other and protect the environmental values ​​as well. In the future, I want to grow into a company that makes the best eco-friendly bags in the world, moving forward as a global firefighting equipment upcycling brand.

Q. Please give some helpful advice to young people who want to spread a good influence in the future society.
A. I would like to emphasize the importance of practice. If we were just thinking about it, there would be no 119REO today. It was possible because I personally visited people and put it into practice with my curiosity about fire suits and the desire to protect the rights of firefighters. Although I am still lacking, I am working hard to change the world today. How about taking a step into action with me?

Lee Eun-joo, reporter for MODU magazine silver@modu1318.com
Written by Eunjoo Lee ●Photo provided by Barim, 119REO

Facebook
Twitter
LinkedIn
Pinterest
Pocket
WhatsApp

Related News

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Recent News

Editor's Pick