|Randy Nielson, Ferron City Fire Chief, shows residents, Jerry and Geri Stottler how the thermal imaging camera.|
The Ferron Fire Department held their second annual chili dinner at the fire station on Jan. 25. The dinner is used as a fund raiser to help generate revenue for needed firefighting equipment. Randy Nielson said, "There is a 40 percent chance of finding victims in a fire without the thermal imager. With a thermal imager there is a 99 percent chance of finding victims. We are planning on using the funds raised this year at the dinner along with grant money to purchase a thermal imager. When you enter into a fire it is totally black and you can't see anything. With the thermal device you can detect people. The heat seeking device shows the image in yellow of the people," said Nielson.
Nielson showed how the machine works to all those attending the dinner. Emery County only has one device and that is in Elmo.
Infrared technology is fairly new in the firefighting business. In 1997, the thermal imaging cameras were just being introduced. The thermal imaging cameras are useful in keeping firefighters safe. If you are going to work the interior of a fire you need a thermal imaging camera. They are a top piece of equipment and rate up there with hoses and turnout gear in safety. The thermal imaging camera gives the firefighter a sense of sight while engulfed in smoke. The camera works as a sensor. On the front of the thermal imager the sensor reacts to infrared energy from objects in front of it. The infrared energy passes through smoke and fog. The imager converts the thermal signature to a visible image interpreted on a video monitor. The engine converts the thermal signature to the image on the monitor. Hotter objects appear white and cooler objects appear black. Many camera makers have enhancements that provide color images to indicate hotter temperatures relative to surrounding objects. The seat of a fire often shows red and the less hot areas in the immediate areas show yellow depending on the camera.
Nielson said the price for these cameras range from $7-12,000. Prices have fallen dramatically in the last few years to make the dream of having one of these cameras a reality for many smaller fire fighting departments.
The cameras can foretell the dangers of entering a building on fire. The camera can help locate the seat of the fire or warn of fire overhead. Ideally two cameras are needed at each fire scene, one for the interior and one for the outside.
Some of the companies that manufacture the cameras also offer training on their specific camera.
Nielson said he is proud of his firefighters and the advancements the Ferron Fire Department has made. Three of their members have stopped smoking and everyone signed a contract to use the fitness equipment the department received with grant money. Many of the firefighters have dropped weight.
Last year the money from the chili dinner went toward the purchase of a gas detector. Grant monies also aided in the purchase of an air compressor. This year with the addition of the thermal imaging camera the Ferron Fire Department will continue to move forward to meet the needs of their community.
Nielson said, "It is worth getting this device if it can save one firefighter or a community member's life." Ferron Firemen: Randy Nielson, Gaylen Dugmore, Andy Deto, Dustin Deto, Eddie Deto, Bryan Fredericks, Dustin Rollins, Steve Price, Brent Isaacson, Todd Auberger, Idris Walker, Richard Harris, Adam Wayman and Mike Wayman.