Submitted by the Kohler Fire Department – The Kohler Volunteer Fire Department has two new FLIR® thermal-imaging cameras thanks to money raised from its annual brat fry in 2017.
The cameras enable firefighters to quickly find the seat of a fire through dense smoke, locate the spread of fire inside walls, ducting, etc., detect rising temperatures leading up to potential flashovers and locate victims. The cameras also help firefighters find hotspots during overhaul procedures.
The benefits go far beyond firefighter’s safety,” said Chief Mike Lindstrom of the Kohler Volunteer Fire Department. “For example, the cameras allow firefighters to enter a smoke-filled building and search for victims who are unconscious or overcome by smoke. Decreasing property damage is another area where the thermal-imaging cameras make a big difference. They can quickly locate the areas where fires are burning – even if those areas are behind walls. The thermal-imaging cameras have been used effectively at several fires since being put in service back in December, and most recently at the Kohler Co. foundry fire. We were able to use the thermal-image cameras to locate the seat of the fire, monitoring heat and conditions to keep our firefighters safe, while mitigating damage to the area of the foundry.”
The advanced technology built into the cameras also includes an image-capture mode providing firefighters the ability to save images of the fire scene.
“Having the ability to capture images allows us to work alongside fire investigation teams and use the images for training purposes as well,” Lindstrom added.
Prior to receiving the cameras, the Kohler Volunteer Fire Department only had two thermal-imaging cameras, one of which was very old and the technology was outdated. The new cameras, which cost about $4,000 each, are lighter and more advanced. The Kohler Volunteer Fire Department was able to purchase the two cameras after receiving a rebate to trade in its oldest thermal imaging camera. Now, a camera will be available for the department’s ladder truck, engine and rescue unit.
“These cameras are a valuable tool for assisting our firefighters in protecting lives and property in the Village of Kohler and the surrounding communities we serve. We are extremely grateful for the fellow firefighters and citizens who purchase tickets to our annual brat fry fundraiser and come out to support us, because it is because of their generosity that we were able to reinvest the funds and purchase new equipment. We hope to see everyone this year on May 6th again and if you get the chance, ask to check out the new thermal-imaging cameras, Lindstrom concluded.”