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Three Rivers buys thermal imaging camera
by Matt Naber
Aug 24, 2013 | 645 views | 0 0 comments | 43 43 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Three Rivers firefighters will be able to put out fires and save victims faster with the help of a military-grade thermal camera the Three Rivers City Council approved of purchasing for $9,900 at its Aug. 12 meeting.

“It’s a lot better and improved camera from what they used to have in the past,” Three Rivers Fire Chief Bobby Joe Stewart said. “It can be used for a lot of things. We looked at these years ago and they were quite expensive, about $50,000.”

The latest model displays in color and in high resolution, unlike older black and white models.

The camera automatically detects the hottest spot in a fire, which will cut down on the time it takes to extinguish a fire. It also allows firefighters to zoom into smoke-filled buildings and see through the smoke so they aren’t searching for victims in empty rooms. It is also built to withstand temperatures of up to 2,000 degrees.

Council member Ray Trevino recalled his experience as a firefighter as they discussed whether or not the camera was something TRFD needed.

“Without an apparatus like that, we went in blindsided and it takes time to search and sweep an area,” Trevino said. “This cuts down on the scene time for the safety of the firemen and the people inside the house.”

Keith Gould of Siddons-Martin Emergency Group, the same supplier that brought in the new fire truck last month, explained some of the camera’s specifications to the council. He said in some situations the camera can be used to track footprints and be used from helicopters to find runaways as well.

Gould said the hot spot indicator can detect hot pipes inside of walls and displays heat in a range of colors with 300-degree areas in yellow on up through red.

The camera is also equipped with a laser pointer, which helps in cutting down on property damage, and when used in pursuits it is indistinguishable from a gun’s crosshair laser.

Mayor Sammy Garcia suggested training Three Rivers police officers along with firefighters since the two often work together on emergency calls.

In other Three Rivers City council news:

• The council approved installing a new four-inch water line to Tips Park. The old line crossed Highway 72 but construction requires removing it.

• The Woodward water well will be taken from 160 feet deep to 300 feet deep. A new pump will also be installed which will allow up to 550 gallons of water to be pumped out per minute
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