As a veteran firefighter for 19 years, Mike Robinson knew the heat created by fires, equipment, and confining uniforms required firefighters to take period breaks to rest and cool-down. He became aware of how important these rehabilitation breaks were when a fellow firefighter collapsed due to heat exhaustion. Cooling him down with wet towels allowed the firefighter to recover, but it convinced Robinson that better cooling methods were needed. Although such devices were available, they required a considerable amount of time to set up, and were very costly, particularly for volunteer and rural departments. Robinson realized that caps on the trucks’ pumps could be modified by drilling holes in them and inserting spray nozzles. This created a misting device similar to those used in a grocery store’s produce section. That’s when he knew he solved the problem, began working with suppliers to build several prototypes, and named the device Heatseeker. Robinson stated that “With our units, any fire service apparatus with water and a pump has the ability to begin to establish a better environment for personnel to cool off, get a quick drink, and rehab to get back into the fight.”
After receiving interest and approval from local fire departments, he contacted SCORE for assistance in getting a business established and promoting the device. Only five months after production units were completed, many fire departments across the country have purchased the device due to marketing and promotional advise offered by SCORE counselor Arnold Klugman,whose father also was a firefighter. Heatseeker has been featured in industry magazines, was in an issue of Popular Science as one of the top inventions of 2012, and was selected as a “Client of the Year” by the Greater Knoxville SCORE chapter. A unique part of Heatseeker’s business model is to donate a portion of their profits to charities such as is National Fallen Firefighter Foundation® and to organizations involved in breast cancer research. In addition to increasing the Heatseeker’s use within fire departments, Robinson’s future plans for the Heatseeker include marketing it to vocations and activities that need instant cooling, such as athletic fields, training centers, construction sites, the military, and law enforcement.You can learn more about this firm atwww.firegroundrehab.com.