Two officials of Missouri American Water, Manager of Government Affairs Bradley Brown and Manager of External Affairs Brian Russell, recently presented a check of $1,200 as a generous donation to the Hazelwood Fire Department (HFD). Fire Chief Dave Herman was elated to receive this corporate gift and said it would be put to good use.
The department plans to use this money to purchase more Mask-Mounted Thermal Imaging Cameras for the face masks of its firefighter/paramedics. The face mask is an important piece of a firefighter’s self-contained breathing apparatus. These cameras are attached to the outside of the face mask and use highly sensitive infrared technology to determine differences in temperature of surrounding objects. The thermal imaging information is then transmitted to an In-Mask Display (IMD), using Bluetooth wireless technology.
Rather than displaying colors that correspond to an actual value, the thermal imaging equipment looks at the entire scene and calculates the range of temperatures for each object before transmitting this information to the IMD. Firefighters end up seeing images in colors associated with different temperature levels. The gradient scale goes from black (lower temperatures) to white (higher temperatures). Additionally, red is used to indicate the highest temperatures at the scene.
With proper training, firefighters can use the IMD to located victims, pets, fallen firefighters and fire sources more quickly in a dark smokey room during a house/building fire. After the check presentation, Capt. Dale Kelle showed Brown and Russell how a Mask-Mounted Thermal Imaging Camera works.