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2/3/2013 6:01:00 AM
Gear allows Kingman firefighters to see victims, hot spots in the dark
Imaging unit offers more eyes at fires
NACFD Battalion Chief Jason Scott points one of the department’s thermal imaging cameras at NACFD Chief Patrick Moore.
NACFD Battalion Chief Jason Scott points one of the department’s thermal imaging cameras at NACFD Chief Patrick Moore.

Ahron Sherman
Miner Staff Reporter

Locating and rescuing victims just got a little easier for the emergency responders at the Northern Arizona Consolidated Fire Department.

The department recently secured a nearly $48,000 grant through the Federal Emergency Management Agency to purchase five new handheld thermal imaging cameras, which should be delivered and in use within in the next two months.

"This is something that was needed and falls within the continued planning of (the department's) capital structure," said NACFD Chief Patrick Moore. "We'll use them for fires quite a bit."

The cameras give firefighters the ability to basically see in the dark, find hidden victims, locate hot spots and pinpoint hidden fires, Moore said.

In a pitch black room, NACFD Battalion Chief Jason Scott fired up one of the cameras and demonstrated how even in darkness, firefighters can get a clear view of a scene. You can even see inside of walls.

It has a target on its screen and when pointed at something, the device will display the object's temperature, which aids in the location of people and areas where fire might spread.

After the demonstration, Scott used the camera to find the doorknob of the room's exit.

Though they have multiple uses, Scott said their primary use is safely finding victims. Scott said people, especially children, will often find a place in their home to hide when it's on fire. The cameras help firefighters find those people and get them out, he said.

But that's not all they do.

Limit damage

In the past, firefighters would need to tear down walls to find hot spots and hidden fires, but with the cameras there's no need for that, Moore said. They give first responders the ability to limit damage quickly and efficiently in structures that are on fire, and check to make sure blazes don't spread neighboring buildings.

"We are very pleased to have been awarded the grant funding," Moore said. "The cameras will allow us to work more efficiently and effectively during fire operations or other hazardous emergencies."

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Reader Comments

Posted: Sunday, February 3, 2013
Article comment by: Ernest Matthews

If this saves one life it is money well spent.

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