News release text
Innovative new technology designed to help crews locate victims stranded by fire is being rolled out across the county.
Kent Fire and Rescue Service has conducted a review into the increasing use of thermal imaging cameras at incidents. Part of the conclusion recommended that new cameras should be fitted to every front line fire engine throughout the service.
KFRS Operational Quality Assurance Manager, Dave Harris, said: “Our previous thermal imaging cameras were coming to the end of their ten year cycle and it was important that we made the correct choice in finding a replacement.
“These new lightweight devices can be clipped directly onto existing fire gear, giving incident commanders immediate access during initial risk assessments. The camera is used to direct firefighting operations by identifying areas such as fire spread, casualties, potential hazards, and layout of buildings."
Another reason for updating the cameras came earlier this year following a coroner’s enquiry into a fatal fire in Hampshire. Part of the recommendation was that thermal imaging cameras should be used to search for fire in smoky conditions.
Feedback from the initial six stations that trialled the new cameras highlighted its safety benefits and how easy it was to operate, most importantly it significantly aided performance in poor visibility conditions.
Maidstone Watch Manager Roy Ingram, said: ““Having the camera at hand and the fact that it is charged and ready to go, instead of in a locker, means that it is used more.
“The incident commander can grab it and scan the building more effectively to identify the extent of the fire and ventilation paths, before sending in crews.”
In total 74 new thermal imaging cameras have been purchased, funded by a national resilience grant.
KFRS Head of Operational Services, Chris Colgan, added: “KFRS continues to invest in frontline technology to assist our crews and better serve the public by being more efficient when we are dealing with fires.
“We will continue to investigate new ways of working and introduce state-of-the-art equipment such as this when there is a clear benefit for all concerned.”