Spotterup.com attended our Warrior Expo West and if you were there then you had a chance to see this item on display at the Strategic Rescue Products booth (SRP). This is another product that got a lot of attention by curious passersby.
The Northern Star Electric Compass' design facilitates use in high stress, low fine-motor-skill settings. Turning it on is easy with a simple double-tap and shake of the mask. It turns itself off when idle for longer than three minutes.
A frequent user said during his training/testing/shift days, he put a fresh battery in and never had a battery-related failure. The battery is simple to change out and charge (as tested, it came with two batteries and a charger).
The compass works as advertised and is durable. At an MSRP of $149, it's reasonably priced. This gadget won’t replace fitness, training, or ongoing tactical education, but it is clearly a force multiplier.
Firefighter disorientation, which is loss of one’s direction due to the lack of visibility in a structure fire, is one of firefighting’s most serious hazards. According to the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), it typically precedes a firefighter fatality.”
As a 23-year veteran professional firefighter, Jason was a tad skeptical of gadgetry on the fireground (burn buildings, training tower, etc.). It's his experience that there are no substitutes for being fit, knowing the hazards of the profession, and executing solid fire ground tactics—that is, until several of his friends died on the job.
Details on the specific events of each of the three fit, experienced, and highly capable firefighter's deaths is beyond the scope of this review. However, disorientation plays a significant role in the deaths of those brave men and the efforts that dozens of equally capable firefighters put into their failed rescues.
In short, had there been a tool available that would have provided accurate insight to the most basic cardinal directions, those men would likely still be alive.
This isn’t the first time Jason has seen variations on a compass being used on the fireground. It is, however, the first time he's seen one deliver.
He put the Northern Star through its paces and found the magnetometer, backed up by an accelerometer, to be accurate on the fireground. It was accurate in the high radio-frequency interference environment of one of the worlds largest and busiest commercial airfields. It was accurate at three stories below grade in tunnels made of concrete and steel. It also was accurate in massive warehouse structures. Lastly, it was accurate in his diving mask at 60 feet on a compass course where the Northern Star was the only compass used.
Interested in learning more about Northern Star technology or other life-saving technology? Register today for Warrior Expo East in Virginia Beach, VA on Wednesday, July 11 and Thursday, July 12. It promises to be a exciting day and is only open to government ID holders.