Jemison Fire welcomes new equipment

Published 9:33 pm Friday, April 10, 2009

The Jemison Fire and Rescue Department received new extrication equipment and a thermal imager through the Assistance to Firefighters Grant program.

The extrication equipment allows rescue volunteers to cut through wrecked vehicles in order to get to victims. While the department already had one cutting tool, the new tools are easier to use and can cut through large wreckage such as 18-wheelers or train cars.

“It’s actually going to help us get the person out of that car faster,” firefighter Cameron Emerick said.

The extrication equipment includes a cutter, a spreader, 21- and 28-inch rams, fuel pump with dual hookups, hoses with “quick connects,” chains, and a kick plate for use with rams. Together the extrication equipment totals $27,500.

The thermal imager has the ability to see through smoke in a structure fire, in order to detect images of people or other heat sources. What the imager sees is the heat source itself, reducing the time it takes to locate trapped victims or pinpoint the source of a fire — thus saving more lives and property.

“Before that, we just had to guess,” Fire Chief Bobby Tucker said. “You don’t want to guess when it comes to people’s lives.”

The department already had a thermal imager, but the second device will allow them to better serve the growing city. The new imager can also record up to two hours of footage, which can serve as a valuable piece of evidence.

“The problem with having only one, if you have more than one structure fire, you need more than one,” Tucker said.

The imager has a value of $10,000, bringing the total equipment value to $37,500. Tucker said it was much needed.

“We’re seeing about 10 calls a day now between fire and medical,” he said. “That’s why we needed this.”

The department will go through special training to use the new tools Saturday, April 18.

The AFG program is administered by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).