Valdosta Fire Department tests new tools - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Valdosta Fire Department tests new tools

December 5, 2007

Valdosta - When firefighters enter a burning building, a thick smokescreen usually separates them from a victim trapped inside.

But the Valdosta fire department's new tools will help guide the way.  "It's dark. The room is filled with smoke and to a degree, this allows us to see through the smoke," says Capt. Ken Gallagher.

They received six thermal imaging cameras that they say will drastically improve their rescue capabilities.  "What the thermal imager does is picks up temperature differences which allows us to quickly locate victims as well as other firefighters," says Lt. Brian Boutwell.

"Every single situation we go to is going to be 100% more improved. Its going to make us get in there quicker to search for victims and its going to let us find the seat of the fire quicker thus reducing the amount of fire loss," Gallagher adds.

And with its infrared technology, the cameras will assist firefighters in almost every scenario they may face.  "We use it in search and rescue, locating hidden fires, overhaul and if need be, to find one of our firefighters," Boutwell says.

But firefighters say while its a great tool, its not THE tools so they must always rely on their training and instincts when facing a fire.

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