It’s no secret that the right tools can make the difference in getting a job done. For the Nixon Volunteer Fire Department (VFD), the tools they needed were two pieces of equipment that would enhance their rescue efforts: stabilization struts and a thermal imaging camera. With a little assistance from a POWER UP grant, they were able to get both.
According to VFD Captain Brian Wischnewsky, rescue stabilization struts help speed up response time in rescuing patients. Struts are helpful in accidents where a vehicle has rolled over or become wedged into a position where passengers are unable to escape. They allow firefighters to stabilize the vehicle as quickly as possible, which is important when time is of the essence.
The second piece of equipment, a thermal imaging camera, helps firefighters locate fire victims when plain eyesight is not enough. This type of camera traces “hot spots” created by a body’s heat, making it easier to find someone trapped inside a burning building. This is especially useful when it’s too smoky to see. Firefighters can also use these cameras to ensure a fire is under control by letting them “see” there are no hidden areas still hot enough to reignite.
This equipment can help save lives beyond the Nixon area. It can be used to help other VFDs whenever Nixon is called in to help in a mutual aid effort.
Practice makes perfect. The comradery between these firefighters is obvious as the Nixon, McQueeney and New Braunfels fire departments work together at a training session on using stabilization struts. It’s not unusual for fire departments to help each other in emergency situations; they call it mutual aid.
Thermal cameras are useful in rescue efforts because they can “see” what firefighters can’t when it’s smoky.