Firefighting tools are designed to keep users safe from flames, smoke, and falling debris—but heavy-duty gear won't help them navigate a burning building when the power fails. Zachary Green, a volunteer firefighter and former Marine Corps infantryman, came up with a way to illuminate rescuers' paths using glow-in-the-dark technology, as Cincinnati's WCPO reports.

The innovative safety tools manufactured by Green's Ohio-based company MN8 LumAware utilize maintenance-free phosphorescent light. Phosphorescent materials don't require batteries, light bulbs, or electricity, and they charge themselves when they're exposed to ambient light throughout the day. That means if a blaze or some other accident causes power in a building to fail, phosphorescent objects can act as potentially life-saving light sources.

One of the first products Green invented was a phosphorescent helmet band that makes firefighter helmets visible in the dark. Today, MN8 LumAware sells glow-in-the-dark exit signs, stairwell labels, floor arrows, and tape for illuminating handrails, doorways, and floors. The products are not only useful for occupants, but also for emergency responders who need to get in and out of buildings in a hurry.

In 2019, MN8 LumAware received the presidential “E” award from the Department of Commerce for showing an impressive increase in exports over a four-year period.

[h/t WCPO]