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Thermal cameras aid in fire fighting and rescue

SPRINGVILLE—Two new additions to the Springville Volunteer Fire Department will go a long way to help local volunteers fight fires more safely and efficiently. The additions did not come in the form of more personal or better trucks, but rather two compact thermal imaging cameras.

“Not only are these cameras a way to better protect the interior firefighters, when they go into structure fires, but it’s also a tool to assist us in finding the source of a fire when there is no signs of a flame,” said Springville Fire Chief Dennis Dains. “These cameras show us where we have potential problems.”

The cameras function by illuminating heat sources on its display screen using a series of colors. The cool area appears in a dark blue color, while warm spots appear in a range from yellow to orange, the hottest temperatures appear in red. This allows for firefighters to see through walls or obstacles that may be blocking any visual signs of fire.

“These cameras can be used in any type of interior fire fighting, they can take you right to the fire,” said Dains.

In addition to leading firefighters straight to the fire, the thermal imaging cameras can also show body heat, making search and rescue situations more efficient.

The department already had a much larger camera, and according to Dains the department had been looking into adding more thermal imaging cameras for some time. The addition of the two smaller, hand-held cameras cost the department roughly $9,600.

The money for the purchase came from community donations collected through the department’s annual mailing fundraiser. There are a number of different add-ons for the new cameras, but the fire department thought it best to wait on purchasing anything else.

“If we purchased some of the add-ons for these cameras we could have been looking at additional costs well over $3,000,” said Dains “We thought let’s utilize [the cameras] the way we want to utilize them and if there is something that we feel we could add to the cameras when money comes around, we could always add something on at a later date.”

The cameras will travel with the department’s Engine 3 and Engine 4 firetrucks.

“Those are usually the first two trucks out of the hall, one out of Franklin Street and one out of Main Street. Those vehicles can carry up to six people in their cab, so with one truck alone you have a interior tactical team,” said Dains, “This way, units can just flip the camera on, put their gear on, when they get off the truck just grab the hose and they’re ready for interior firefighting.”

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2014-08-04 | 12:14:52
Handheld Thermal Cameras
I wonder which cameras they are using. I just heard about Therm-App, which is only $999, but can work on Android phones and can detect a human target at 1600ft.