For a better experience, click the Compatibility Mode icon above to turn off Compatibility Mode, which is only for viewing older websites.

Drexel Student Revolutionizes How First Responders React to Emergencies

July 24, 2017

Jared Therrien, volunteer firefighter cadet, Drexel University student and founder of Emergency Information Systems (EIS), has a mission: to save lives by reducing emergency response times by quickly relaying information to first responders.

Most first responders will tell you that the location of people still inside a building is one of the most essential pieces of information they need to know to quickly do their duty. Typically, windows are excellent points of access for high occupancy buildings like schools, but without proper marking, they cannot always be used efficiently during emergency situations.

Campus security experts around the United States recommend placing decals in classroom windows, indicating which window belongs to each classroom. This helps response crews gather information about the location and speed along operations. Many teachers and professionals already place classroom number cards in their windows, but natural fading and water damage can quickly make these paper cards illegible.

Therrien saw this problem and realized that the emergency response process was not optimized to its full potential. He gathered information from his viewpoint as a student and firefighter to create products that would revolutionize emergency response. Through this, the WAYFINDER Safety System was born.

The Safety System currently offers two options: window appliques and reflective numeral decals. The window applique is a reflective frosted film that covers an entire window, with large numbers cut from the film. This option increases privacy on ground-floor windows while still clearly providing information. The reflective numeral decals are highly visible inside-glass mount/interior-installation reflective decals. The high-intensity prismatic film is used to increase visibility and maintain durability.



(Left: WAYFINDER™ Window Applique. Right: WAYFINDER™ Reflective Numeral Decal.)


These applications are shown externally, unlike Tot Finder stickers, which are usually placed inside the house. The WAYFINDER Safety System allows first responders on the outside of the building to quickly enter a window to rescue those inside.

Therrien, a product design and entrepreneurship student, recently won second place in Drexel University’s Baiada Institute for Entrepreneurship’s Business Plan Competition, earning a $500 prize. This competition allowed students to compete with fellow entrepreneurs and present their tested hypotheses and validated business models to a panel of judges.

“[The Business Plan Competition is] all about getting out of the building and speaking with customers by validating prices and comparing with the competition,” said Therrien.

And that’s just the beginning. The company has participated in other Philadelphia pitch competition events, as well as in Therrien’s home state of Connecticut. He tested and validated an upcoming EIS project in a Connecticut elementary school through heuristic analysis - a method that assists in identifying usability problems in the user interface design. This analysis helps product developers discover issues in design that they would not have come across without the help of new users.

Therrien and EIS are also part of Drexel University’s entrepreneurship co-op. This co-op encourages students who already have a business to grow their company in an incubator surrounded by student entrepreneurs and mentors. Students are provided their own space, information about competitions and opportunities for funding. 

“I wasn’t able to find a mentor, especially in B2B (business to business), but Baiada provided  me that opportunity and many other necessary resources to grow my company,” said Therrien.

For more information about Emergency Information Systems and WAYFINDER Safety System, visit the website.


Sarah Temple, Communications, Charles D. Close School of Entrepreneurship