Heroes are those who run into a burning building while everyone else is running out. Firefighters, paramedics, and other emergency first responders put their bodies and lives on the line in their attempts to save the rest of us. Fortunately, wearable technology is helping them to do their jobs better, and to protect them from harm as much as possible.

EMERGE is a technology accelerator created solely to help apply technology to aid and protect first responders. The program was created in partnership with the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the Center for Innovative Technology (CIT). The program is currently supporting ten projects,  covering a range of applications including wearable sensors and electronic systems, threat detection, and situational awareness tools. The organization held a Converge meeting for industry representatives in Washington, DC earlier this fall, and a second session is now planned for December 14 and 15 in Chicago. The goal is to bring together companies working on these technology projects, corporate representatives who may be able to help with the development and commercialization, and first responders themselves.

This is just one example of how wearable technology is being advanced in niche markets and industry segments. Unless you’re part of these particular segments, you may not hear about the advances. Yet they have the potential to save lives, and could also lead to products with broader applications.