The Newport News Fire Department has equipped every one of its vehicles with a thermal imaging camera that will help firefighters locate victims and pets. The cameras, which weigh two pounds and cost just under $6,000 apiece, were purchased with a grant from the Virginia Department of Fire Programs. The 17 cameras cost a total of around $100,000.
Each engine, ladder truck, technical rescue unit and battalion chief vehicle now has a mounted camera. In addition to locating people and animals at a fire scene, the cameras will help firefighters spot fires that are hidden by walls, floors or ceilings, making it easier and safer to analyze the scene.
“This is a small price to pay when you consider what a valuable tool this is for firefighters,” fire department chief Kenneth Jones said in a press release. “We are grateful to the state for providing us with this technology that is proven to save lives and minimize property damage to homes and businesses.”
Before the grant, the department had five thermal imaging cameras, which were heavier and bulkier than the new ones, department spokeswoman Dana Perry said.