Worcester Polytechnic’s firefighting technology at Smithsonian


Firefighting technology spearheaded by Worcester Polytechnic Institute is part of a new exhibit at the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum in Washington. The exhibit, which opened Friday, is about the evolution of timekeeping and navigation technology. John Orr, a professor at Worcester Polytechnic, said school researchers began working in 1999 on technology that could pinpoint the position of emergency responders inside large commercial buildings. It is designed so an incident commander on the outside of a structure can use a computer to track firefighters inside a structure. The technology efforts started after a Worcester blaze killed six firefighters who got lost inside a smoky cold storage warehouse on Dec. 3, 1999.

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