A decision has been made that is a blatant disregard for your safety as well as the safety of our citizens. New thermal imaging cameras scheduled to be delivered with the 7 new pieces of equipment have been cancelled. A critical tool being used industry wide to assist in locating civilians as well as firefighters trapped and or lost within a building fire. Currently a company without a thermal imager is left to crawling around in complete darkness assisted only by their sense of touch and sound. For those of you not familiar with this, turn your lights off one night and see how long it takes you to get around your own bedroom. Now imagine a room you have never entered, seen the layout of, know the dimensions of and add temperatures reaching 1200 degrees or more.
Advances in technology have placed thermal imaging cameras in the hands of fire fighters around the world. These cameras allow a fire fighter to view a clear picture of a room allowing for a faster, smoother search pattern and in some cases an exact location of a downed civilian or firefighter. At current the City of Richmond does have some companies equipped with these cameras. However for years we have been asking the Chief to equip all apparatus, but have been met with excuses of budgetary constraints. Well now that we were taking a step towards providing all of our fire fighters with this invaluable piece of equipment to life safety, it has been dropped from the equipment list due to budgetary reasons. As you will see this money was needed elsewhere in the apparatus purchase.
Now, what do you think directly affects our safety and survival more, a thermal imager or a Zoll Road safety system used to track driving behaviors? Yes, after the cameras were dropped the Chief approved the allocation of funds for the Zoll system. Reason being there will now be a way to track driving habits to assist in reducing wear and tear, modify current driving behaviors and assist in providing statistics for a disciplinary system as it relates to driving. What has greater value…Brake Pads or human life?