Wis. FF/Paramedic Invents Special Compass, Invited to Meet President for Small Business Discussion

Wis. FF/Paramedic Invents Special Compass, Invited to Meet President for Small Business Discussion

News Aug 01, 2017

Aug. 01—A compass that would direct firefighters through unfamiliar and treacherous burning buildings started as a seed of an idea thought up by veteran firefighter Jeff Dykes.

In three years, the Eau Claire fire captain's idea turned into his own business, Northern Star Fire, which gained international interest and propelled Dykes to the national stage, where today he is one of 100 small-business owners who will participate in a roundtable with President Donald Trump at the White House.

He flies out this morning to greet the president as part of a discussion entitled American Small Business—The Engine of the American Dream—set to take place at 2 p.m. Central time.

"That's pretty cool stuff," he said of the invitation. "It's not every day the president of the United States requests your company."

Dykes—an employee of the Eau Claire Fire Department since 1999, an instructor for the Wisconsin Technical College System and a paramedic—developed a lighted eight-directional compass that attaches to the inside of a firefighter's helmet from his own experience battling flames.

"Every structure is a little different," Dykes said. "If you close your eyes, that's what you see. If you turn a flashlight on, it makes it worse sometimes. There's a thousand different things that run through a firefighter's head."

And it doesn't take long to get disoriented, said fire Deputy Chief Jon Schultz.

"When firefighters go into a building, if they can't see, they're supposed to follow a wall," he said. "But things happen, and you get disoriented."

Another option is to follow their own hoses, but that might not be the quickest way out of the burning building, Dykes said, especially if the hoses are looped.

"This device not only allows us to be safer, but when the chief says I need to go to the back side of the house, I know which way that is," he said.

Continue Reading

After winning the Idea Challenge sponsored by the Eau Claire Area Economic Development Corp., Dykes gained more confidence in his idea, prompting him to hire engineers to work on the product for royalties.

That led to a few more grants and encouragement from others who thought Dykes was on to a great idea.

"When I first heard of Jeff's invention, I knew instinctively there would be a market for a device that helped public safety workers such as firefighters better navigate risky situations," said Tom Still, president of the Wisconsin Technology Council, who encouraged Jeff to apply to the Wisconsin Governor's Business Plan Contest.

Still said Dykes was one of nearly 200 qualified entries in the contest. He took home the grand prize.

"That was a pretty big bump," Dykes said.

Dykes said that exposure is leading to order placements from China and Europe. He has also been approached by scuba divers and NASA scientists.

"I really give him all the credit in the world for figuring it out," Schultz said. "He didn't buckle under from pressure he got from big companies, and it's paying off for him."

According to a statement from the Wisconsin Small Business Development Center, which helped Dykes craft a business plan needed for a grant submission, Dykes is currently negotiating a 10,000-compass order.

Fielding calls from the White House on Monday for security checks and information updates, Dykes learned he would be one of five guests given an opportunity to ask Trump a question.

"What advice does he have from his experience to encourage that person who has identified an issue and that solution to take that next step to make our society better?" Dykes said when asked what question he prepared to ask.

Dykes will be joined at the White House by Kristina Pence-Dunow of Hometown Trolley, a business based in Crandon.

While not in production until this fall, compasses can be ordered at Dykes' website, northernstarfire.com. The compasses can be purchased by anyone, and so far, 100 orders have been filled.

The Leader-Telegram, Eau Claire, Wis.

Elizabeth Dohms

In their article “Community Paramedicine Pilot Programs: Lessons from Maine,” Karen B. Pearson, MLIS, MA and George Shaler, MPH discuss the growing trend of implementing community paramedicine programs throughout the country and the necessity for pilot CP programs to exist and demonstrate their value.

First responders, physicians, nurses, and dispatch officers practiced their active shooter protocols while the incident commander on scene was thrown curveballs as part of the scenario to test the individual's ability to prioritize actions.
The program will save the agency money by sending paramedics to frequent-caller residents instead of tying up the 9-1-1 system with non-emergency calls.

After a driver rammed his van through the popular street of Las Ramblas in Barcelona, 14 people were killed and 100 others were injured.

A similar second attack that occurred in Cambrils, Spain left one woman dead and four others injured. ISIS has claimed responsibility for both attacks. 

For more on this event, click here.

Police are deeming this event a terrorist attack and have urged residents to remain indoors until the scene is safe.
Emergency Reporting’s integration with StreetWise links the data used or produced in the apparatus during a response with data stored in a department’s records, significantly improving accuracy, situational awareness, safety and efficiency during emergency response.
Pulsara knows that time is brain and radios can be unreliable, which is why their communications app for EMS to relay clear, accurate patient information to the ED has been improving patient care.
"In publishing our latest issue of best practices, we selected policies and practices that illustrated the high-quality patient care and safety we seek in accreditation," said CAMTS Executive Director Eileen Frazer.
United Hatzalah volunteer, Gary Friedson, was teaching a local EMS crew about shortening response times when they invited him to a call that came in for a boy having seizures on a plane making an emergency landing nearby.
The Northern California ambulance and logistics provider is known for its innovative services and unmatched customer service.
Athanasia “Ethel” Ventura received the $1,000 reward from Platinum, whose goal is to provide students entering the EMS, Nursing, and Allied Health fields with assistance in funding their education.
Hooten, Executive Director of MedStar Mobile Healthcare, and Brenda Staffan, Chief Operating Officer, Integrated Services, at the Regional EMS Authority in Reno, Nevada, were each recognized for their exemplary work helping to advance EMS as a profession. 
Legendary EMS leader, Bob Garner, was honored last week at the 12th annual Pinnacle EMS Leadership Forum, a national conference for senior EMS leadership representing all models of delivery service.
It is believed that the EMT driving the ambulance was speeding before driving off the road and rolling over, causing the patient, Carolyn D. Koch, 66, to die of a head injury.
Dispatch officers informing EMS of the gunman who opened fire on law enforcement officers were recognized as the Association of Public-Safety Communications Officials (APCO) Communications Team of the Year at the national award ceremony Monday in Denver.