ESCAMBIA COUNTY, Fla. (WKRG) — Every second counts when a fire rescue is underway. Now, new thermal imaging cameras will help Escambia County fire fighters reach victims quicker.

“It enables us to see beyond the smoke,” said Escambia County Fire Rescue Battalion Chief Dan Brask. “That will help us see certain areas of the room that we couldn’t see unless we got really close up to it.” 

The cameras show temperature deviations, allowing fire rescuers to identify active hot spots and find people in trouble. The device is also easy to use. All you have to do is power it on, and look for the high lighted victim.

“So traditionally you’re searching off your general senses,” said Chief Brask. “So touch, sight. So what happens in structure fires, not what you see in Hollywood productions, but in real structure fires it’s almost zero visibility. So you can’t see across the room. The cameras give us the ability to see across the room and see things we wouldn’t be able to see which enables us to find the victims quicker.”

A pair of cameras cost about $7,000. Eventually, with the necessary funding, each fire company will get two cameras they can use simultaneously, one for the company officer and one for a fire fighter.

The tool upgrade will improve the ability of first responders during fast-developing situations. ECFR says they are constantly in pursuit to educate themselves on the latest firefighting technology and for their continual training.