UH City Council approves new thermal camera for fire department

The new HD thermal camera (shown here) is expected to enable firefighters to save more lives.


At their June 4 meeting, the members of University Heights City Council voted unanimously to approve the purchase of a new HD thermal camera for the city’s fire department. City council stipulated that the purchase price not exceed $10,270. The new camera is the third generation and newest thermal camera on the market. The city purchased its first thermal camera in 2000, when these devices first hit the market.

The thermal imaging device enables firefighters to see life forms up to 20 feet away in burning and smoke-filled buildings, according to Captain Brian Phan. The device works by showing life forms and heated objects as white. The whiter the image the hotter the object is. When a firefighter focuses the device on an object, he or she can see the temperature of the object in the lower right hand corner of the LCD screen.

This thermal camera is useful in several ways. For example, when entering a blazing building, the smoke is often so thick that firefighters are unable to spot the victims. The device will enable them to see people trapped by the smoke.

Fire Chief Brian Rodney and Phan, who has been with the department for 23 years, are enthusiastic about the new equipment and emphasize the importance of keeping their equipment up to date so that more lives can be saved. The HD thermal camera is similar to those used by the United States military. It will be shared interdepartmentally, such as with the police department, when needed.

Christina Sanders

Christina Sanders is a senior at Cleveland State University and an intern at FutureHeights.

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Volume 5, Issue 7, Posted 10:44 PM, 06.11.2012