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New thermal imaging cameras to improve firefighting capabilities.

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10 Aug 2012
MFB and CFA have come together to invest in a new thermal imaging camera project which will improve the fire services capabilities at incidents.

Made by Drager, the UCF9000 has thermal imaging and digital camera capabilities all-in-one. The camera will allow firefighters to quickly determine the source of a fire by seeing through the smoke and detecting hot spots. This will also increase our ability to find anyone who might be trapped and will reduce possible water, smoke and fire damage.

MFB Chief Officer Shane Wright said the cameras would enable incident controllers to make better decisions.

“Visibility is often difficult inside a smoke filled room. A firefighter could be metres away from an unconscious person and not see them. But the thermal image cameras cut through the smoke and provide an amazingly accurate image of what is happening. They’re potential life savers.” Mr Wright said.

“This is not only good for training purposes, but means we can improve evidence available for fire investigation.”

CFA’s Acting Specialist Response Officer, Tony O’Day said one of the many great aspects of these cameras is their long range of more than 100 metres.

“The new cameras are not only useful for structure fires, they will also improve our bushfire capabilities,” Mr O’Day said.

“The range and accuracy of these cameras is extremely impressive. Firefighters will be able to detect hot spots from the back of a fire truck.”

MFB CEO Nick Easy said the thermal imaging project was another display of interoperability between the two fire agencies.

“By combining this project between MFB and CFA, we have a greater purchasing power.  MFB and CFA will continue to look for other joint procurement projects,” Mr Easy said.

MFB is set to receive 87 of the cameras – one for every firefighting appliance.  CFA has purchased 35, which will be dispatched to selected brigades across the state.
Following training for MFB and CFA personnel, it’s anticipated the majority of these cameras will be on the trucks by December 2012.

This week, New York firefighter Bob Athanas has visited MFB’s Burnley Training Complex to demonstrate how to use the thermal imaging cameras to MFB and CFA firefighters.  He has more than 30 years firefighting experience and has worked with hundreds of fire departments around the world.

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