TWEED Fire Station senior officers Richard Fraser and Darren West demonstrate the thermal-imaging camera.
TWEED Fire Station senior officers Richard Fraser and Darren West demonstrate the thermal-imaging camera.

Taking heat out of searches

By NADINE FISHER

TWEED Fire Station officers will now be able to complete search and rescues more efficiently thanks to a new thermal imaging camera.

The Tweed Station, Lismore and Port Macquarie have been allocated cameras in the first allocation outside Sydney.

Station Officer Leo Ayoub said the thermal-imaging camera was a "terrific piece of equipment" which could cut down the time involved in search-and-rescue work in the event of a fire.

Officer Ayoub said the camera, worth $25,000, would help firefighters do their job a lot more efficiently and safely.

"It's excellent. It really enhances our capabilities here, and we can assist all other emergency services in the shire," he said.

"In an event where we have to physically search whole smoke-filled rooms on our hands and knees it could take around five minutes, and now with the camera we could do four or five rooms in that time.

"And time is critical in a fire ? 10 to 14 minutes is all we have to make sure everyone is out before smoke-inhalation takes effect and fatalities occur."

Officer Ayoub said the camera worked by picking up the heat from objects. The hotter something was the whiter it appeared on the camera screen.

"The only substances it can not see through are water and glass," he said.

"But it has a myriad of uses for all kinds of emergencies."

Officer Ayoub said training with the thermal imaging camera would be carried out with all other emergency services in the Tweed.

"We all work together in the event of an emergency and this piece of equipment will be a major benefit," he said.

"These thermal imaging cameras have been utilised in emergencies including: the Newcastle earthquake and the Thredbo landslide."



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