According to the U.S. Fire Administration, 1,002 firefighters died while on duty between 2006 and 2015. Jeff Dykes, a fire captain and entrepreneur, believes some of those fatalities could have been avoided if the firefighters had been able to determine what direction they were facing while inside of burning buildings.

Dykes is the founder of Eau Claire, WI-based Northern Star Fire, which has developed an electronic compass designed to guide firefighters when their vision is obstructed by flames and smoke.

Some firefighters, after having a close call, join “near-miss” networks, where they recount harrowing experiences with others in the profession, Dykes said. “You read those reports, and they’re littered with two words: ‘lost’ and ‘disorientation,’” he said.

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