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New thermal imaging cameras put to the test by Salt Lake firefighters

By David Self Newlin | Posted - Jan 29th, 2013 @ 6:57pm


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SALT LAKE CITY — Salt Lake firefighters tested new technology on Tuesday that they hope will help them locate victims in a fire.

Firefighters tested different thermal imaging cameras during a live-fire scenario. The Salt Lake City Fire Department already uses thermal imaging cameras during fires; however, the department is now testing smaller versions.

"As technology changes and gets better, we want to evaluate those new cameras to decide what's best for our department and move toward the future," said one firefighter on the scene.

These types of cameras allow firefighters to see areas of heat through smoke, darkness, or heat-permeable barriers, which enables them to locate victims during a fire.

"They use them to search for possible victims, locate them them and remove them from the structures," another firefighter said.

The devices allow them to see walls, barriers, obstacles, as well as people, even in a room entirely filled with smoke in zero visibility.

Testing is especially important given the extremely trying circumstances that fighting a fire brings. High temperatures, bulky equipment and gloves all factor in to which kind of device the department will choose.

"We don't want to rely too much on technology, but it definitely helps us," the firefighter said.

Contributing:Thomas Smart, Alan Neves

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